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What are the Different Types of CPR Supplies?

By Vanessa Harvey
Updated Feb 25, 2024
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The different cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) supplies include the pocket face mask; the bag-valve mask; the flow-restricted, oxygen-powered ventilation device (FROPVD); the esophageal tracheal Combitube®; and the automatic transport ventilator (ATV). Other CPR supplies are the laryngeal mask airway (LMA™), the King LT® airway, oropharyngeal airways and nasopharyngeal airways. Suctioning devices, water-based lubricants, oxygen cylinders and even gloves also can be considered CPR supplies.

A pocket face mask is a device made of transparent plastic that is placed over the nose and mouth of a non-breathing patient. Most pocket face masks contain a one-way valve within a "stem," through which rescue breaths are delivered to someone in severe respiratory distress or respiratory arrest. The bag-valve mask (BVM) is a handheld device composed of a face mask and a self-refilling bag that the rescuer squeezes to deliver artificial ventilations to a patient using air from the atmosphere or supplemental oxygen, if it is connected to an oxygen supply system. FROPVDs are devices that use oxygen under pressure to deliver artificial ventilations and that have automatic flow restriction to guard against over-delivery of oxygen. All of these CPR supplies involve the use of a face mask and require a proper seal to be effective.

When prolonged ventilations are required, an emergency medical technician (EMT) or a paramedic will sometimes use the ATV, especially if he or she is the only rescuer working on a patient. The Combitube® is a double lumen airway via which ventilations can be delivered using a bag valve without the face mask part. When inserted by the medic, a Combitube® usually ends up in the esophagus, but ventilations can be delivered whether it goes into the esophagus or the trachea because of its unique design conceived from the desire to combine two tubes into one. This device, like the LMA™ and the King LT®, is inserted beyond what is considered the deep throat area to provide superior ventilation of the non-breathing patient.

CPR devices such as oropharyngeal airways and nasopharyngeal airways are used early in the performance of rescue breathing. Deeply unconscious, non-breathing patients run the risk of the tongue relaxing to the point of blocking the airway and preventing artificial ventilations. Oropharyngeal airways are devices inserted into the mouth of the patient, and nasopharyngeal airways are inserted through a nostril to bypass an obstructing tongue. Although CPR supplies such as water-based lubricants, suction devices, gloves and oxygen cylinders are not always thought of as supplies, they are. Nasopharyngeal airways, for example, must be lubricated with a water-based lubricant before use to prevent harm to the patient.

The Thumper® and the Auto-Pulse™ are designed to deliver automatic chest compressions to patients who are in cardiac arrest. Vomiting can occur during resuscitation, so suction devices are CPR supplies, as are pieces of personal protective equipment, such as gloves, that help to protect the health of the rescuer. It is possible, in most cases, to perform effective CPR without the use of CPR supplies, because they are often not available when CPR must be performed. In general, the only piece of equipment that should be used by rescuers who are not healthcare providers is some type of facial barrier device.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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