Medical professionals working in endoscopy units don’t always get the opportunity to exercise choice when it comes to the tools and equipment they employ before, during, and after a procedure. Most simply find themselves working with what’s available to them at a given moment, and the importance of keeping up to date with new advancements in medical technology often takes a backseat to daily commitments and busy schedules.
Endoscopy masks are a great example, as many hospitals and procedural units continue to use old, outdated technology that can threaten patient safety — namely in the form of hypoxia. When asked what type of endoscopy mask they’re using, doctors and staff may not even be able to provide a sufficient answer. It’s not their fault, either, as a lack of education in the space has contributed to confusion on a wide scale.
Characteristics of Commonly Used Endoscopy Masks
For common endoscopic procedures such as EGD, EUS, and ERCP, any mask worn by the patient must contain an oral access port. Many oxygen masks provide positive pressure ventilation; an unwanted component for these types of procedures. It’s not uncommon for traditional clear plastic O2 facemasks to be augmented with hand-cut access ports for use in endoscopy, either, which most people can agree is crude at best.
Some oxygen masks are designed to be used specifically for endoscopy and fiberoptic intubation. These examples typically feature a single oral access point and may also be used in procedures such as bronchoscopy and transesophageal echocardiography. All of these devices are used to increase patient comfort and allow the clinician to perform high-quality work while minimizing procedural interruption.
The Procedural Oxygen Mask® (POM) — A Better Approach to Simultaneous Ventilation and Endoscopy
At the end of the day, an endoscopy mask should provide as much protection as possible against adverse events during conscious sedation, 60% of which are related to hypoxia. The POM addresses this concern head-on by maximizing FiO2 delivery to the patient and providing a bank of oxygen that serves as a crucial buffer throughout the procedure. This helps to increase both intervention time to re-optimize the patient and apnea detection time.
Logically, adverse events and mortalities decrease, as do operational procedure interruptions. The membranes in The POM also have a self-healing nature, which form back to a closing state and provide high FIO2 to the patient during recovery when worn after the procedure. Latex-free, and manufactured and assembled in the United States, it’s the safest option on the market today for all patients; particularly higher risk patients with increased morbidities.
A Safer, More Comfortable Patient Experience
Many patients understandably enter into endoscopic procedures with a relatively high degree of anxiety. Equipped with the right tools and an unshakable base of practical, experiential knowledge, however, endoscopy units can be well-prepared to provide their patients with the best care possible.
The Procedural Oxygen Mask® is one of those tools, and wider adoption will undoubtedly have a positive impact on reducing adverse events related to hypoxia in patients undergoing these types of procedures.