Gastric distension

Gastric distention is a condition where the stomach contains an excessive amount of air, which can increase the risk of regurgitation and serious complications such as aspiration pneumonia. It is essential to take preventive measures to avoid this condition, especially during ventilatory support, respiratory support or insufflations in the event of cardiopulmonary arrest.

To prevent air from entering the stomach through the balloon mask, it is recommended to use a pressure relief valve that opens at about 25mmhg. This valve reduces the pressure inside the balloon mask, thus preventing excessive air from entering the stomach.

The cardia, also called the gastroesophageal junction, is the transition zone between the esophagus and the stomach. This area is considered a high-pressure zone, as it must prevent food and liquid from flowing back into the esophagus. This area is closed by a muscular sphincter, which functions in response to negative pressure in the esophagus.

Gastric distention is a high-risk condition for serious complications such as aspiration pneumonia, which can be prevented by using a pressure relief valve to control the amount of air entering the stomach via the balloon mask. The cardia is a critical area of high pressure that protects the esophagus from gastroesophageal reflux and regurgitation.


Definition and Meaning

Gastric distention during CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, occurs when excessive air is unintentionally introduced into the stomach during artificial ventilation. This can occur when artificial respiration is performed with excessive pressure or when the stomach is not sufficiently emptied before ventilation. Gastric distension can cause pressure on the diaphragm, reducing the efficiency of breathing, and in severe cases, can cause vomiting or regurgitation of gastric contents into the airway, leading to a risk of aspiration. To prevent gastric distension, it is important to ensure that the stomach is sufficiently emptied before performing artificial ventilation, to ventilate at an appropriate rate and pressure, and to monitor for signs of gastric distension such as abdominal sounds or an increase in stomach size. If gastric distension is detected, it is important to reduce ventilation or perform gastric decompression to reduce the risk of respiratory complications.

Function of the cardia

The cardia naturally opens when the pressure exerted reaches about 30mmhg, allowing food to enter the stomach while keeping it safe inside. However, to avoid respiratory complications, it is important to maintain adequate pressure when administering ventilation via a balloon mask or other ventilatory or respiratory tool.


Prevention of gastric distension

To prevent gastric distension, bag-masks are equipped with a pressure relief valve that opens at approximately 25mmhg. This valve prevents the opening of the cardia and thus the injection of air into the stomach. The higher the gastric distension, the higher the risk of regurgitation, which can lead to complications such as aspiration pneumonia.


Bottom line

By maintaining adequate pressure when administering ventilation via a bag mask, gastric distension and potential respiratory complications can be prevented. It is important to continuously monitor the pressure to maintain optimal safety for the victims.