• Aurika Savickaite

What is helmet-based ventilation?

Updated: Jul 23

A goal of noninvasive breathing assistance is to prevent intubation, which results in an increase in drug use, supplies, nursing care and costs for treatment.


Helmet ventilation uses a clear air-tight device that surrounds the patient’s head and is sealed with a soft collar that wraps around the patient’s neck. It allows the patient to see, speak and cough.


A goal of noninvasive breathing assistance is to prevent intubation, which results in an increase in drug use, supplies, nursing care and costs for treatment. Intubation requires ICU beds and has a higher risk of complications.


Traditional noninvasive breathing assistance is relatively ineffective for patients in acute respiratory distress. It is administered via a full-face mask, which typically begins to show air leaks when the required pressure exceeds 15-20cm H2O. The helmet is less likely to have an air leak. It maintains positive air pressure, which helps keep the airway open and improves gas exchange. A helmet is more comfortable for the patient, because it doesn’t touch the face, and he/she can communicate and help clinicians with the assessment.


Helmet-based ventilation is especially important with COVID-19 treatment because it minimizes exhaled air dispersion due to minimal air leaks. It helps to stop the spread of the virus from patients to their caregivers.


“Traditional noninvasive breathing assistance is relatively ineffective for patients in acute respiratory distress.”

Image credit: Intersurgical

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We share tips and ideas from those using helmets, but these may be off-label and untested ideas and should not be construed as medical advice, FDA approved modifications or proven safe or effective.  Please consider these with caution.

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