Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

John Spitsbergen

Second Advisor

Peter Gustafson


The only rescue breathing device widely available on the market currently is the Bag-Valve Mask, or BVM for short. This device was patented in 1957 and remains mostly unchanged since its original design. With the noted advancements in technology and patient treatment since 1957, it is surprising to see that a more advanced and ergonomically designed device has not become available since then. In that respect, I have designed an innovative, multi-functional design that allows for simplified and more precise usage by the provider while also providing a more appropriate capacity to decrease the likelihood of over pressurizing the patient’s lungs. With designated sections containing a specific capacity it will allow the user to calculate a relative lung volume being used on the patient to achieve chest rise. This can, in turn, give the provider an inside picture of the pathology relevant to the patient’s condition. Notable conditions would be an airway blockage, causing little to no air movement, pulmonary edema, causing a lower capacity than normal along with increased resistance, or status asthmaticus, causing a near normal lung capacity with apparent resistance. Each of these sections will have its own relative thickness in order to provide more stability and volume control as the device compresses. With a smaller overall device size, providers with smaller hands can achieve full control of the device while ensuring that the volume administered is equal to ventilatory standards for the patient’s lung capacity. With a ring at the base of the device used for hand placement it and the device as a whole remaining inline and centered over the tube, it will provide more stability to the device and the attached mask when placed over the face. Ultimately this achieves a better mask seal than is capable by the commonly used, but inappropriate one-person technique with the BVM device. This would effectively turn ventilation into a one-person technique without losing any of its efficiency. Without the bag section of the BVM there will be less device mass in the way while treating a patient and no need for rotation of the bag and oxygen tubing to transfer ventilatory management to another provider when necessary. Not needing rotation means no chance of the oxygen tubing becoming entangled with other equipment when switching providers, the large bag causing visibility concerns, holding the weight of the bag causing fatigue, and considerably less forces acting upon the tube itself which could alter the depth or ultimately dislodge the tube all together. A two-way valve inserted into the stem of the device would allow the provider to use the device for suction to dislodge larger objects as well with just a turn of the valve. Currently there are suction devices on the market that can assist a patient with choking, even for at home personal use with geriatric patients that tend to aspirate food particles, but these are not widely accepted in medicine due to their limited usage and the need for more invasive procedures by the time a choking patient would reach an emergency department to begin with. By disconnecting the oxygen, turning the valve and depressing the device prior to placing it on the patient’s face, my device could be converted to provide the suction necessary to assist a patient that is choking when the emergency responder is unable to do a finger sweep or reach the object with the Magill forceps. The device could then be converted back into a rescue breather with the same modifications and used in quick succession to oxygenate the previously choking patient. A modification allowing insertion of a PEEP device into the system would allow for wide spread hospital use on top of the already promising use in emergency medical services.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted

Restricted to Campus until