Performance of a Continuous Flow Passenger Oxygen Mask at an Altitude of 40,000 Feet.
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON DC OFFICE OF AVIATION MEDICINE
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A redesigned continuous flow passenger oxygen mask was tested for its ability to deliver an adequate supply of oxygen at an altitude of 40,000 feet above sea level. Four male subjects participated in the study. Blood oxygen saturation SaO2 baseline levels for hypoxic exposure were established for each subject. Immediately prior to high altitude exposure, subjects prebreathed 100 oxygen for two hours through a pressure demand type mask. The hypobaric chamber was then decompressed to a simulated altitude of 35,000 feet. Subjects switched to the passenger oxygen mask. The initial oxygen flow rate to the passenger mask came from manufacturer production performance test data. Once heart and respiratory rates and SaO2 level stabilized, chamber altitude was increased to 40,000 feet. Descent to ground level was performed in steps of 5,000 feet with SaO2 levels being established for each altitude and recommended oxygen flow. Subjects remained at each test altitude for a minimum of three minutes or until SaO2 levels stabilized. At no point during the testing did SaO2 levels approach baseline levels for hypoxic exposure. This mask design would appear to offer protection from hypoxia resulting from altitude exposure up to 40,000 feet.
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