Investigation of arterial bloodgases at altitude using constant-flow oxygen masks.


Arterial blood oxygen tensions up to 6700 m altitude (FL220) were measured polarographically while subjects breathed from various masks with constant-flow oxygen. The Sierra and Aro masks used for emergency decompression descent in commercial passenger aircraft, gave mean PaO2's of 130 +/- 7.6 and 130 +/- 12.1 torr at 6700 m (FL220) and 90 +/- 3.8 and 77 +/- 3.35 torr at 4260 m (FL140), respectively, when supplied with oxygen flows corresponding to those available in the Boeing 747. These oxygen tensions during descent are acceptable for normal physiological function in a heterogeneous population of air travellers whereas breathing ambient air during return to base at 4260 m (FL 140) (PaO2 of 48 or less) is not acceptable. The valveless Hudson 1007 and Puritan 114011 masks, used for air ambulance service, gave mean PaO2's of 110 +/- 2.7 and 98 +/- 4.5 torr at 6700 m and 80 +/- 3.0 and 77 +/- 2.5 torr at 4260 m under the same condition--significantly less than the Sierra mask.

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@article{Hodgson1978InvestigationOA, title={Investigation of arterial bloodgases at altitude using constant-flow oxygen masks.}, author={William R. Hodgson and Russell C Wright and Greg Nelson and T. Letchford}, journal={Aviation, space, and environmental medicine}, year={1978}, volume={49 6}, pages={829-36} }