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Anesthesiology. 2003 Oct;99(4):841-6.

Total oxygen uptake with two maximal breathing techniques and the tidal volume breathing technique: a physiologic study of preoxygenation.

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  • 1Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom. jaideep.pandit@physiol.ox.ac.uk



Three common methods for preoxygenation are 3 min of tidal breathing, four deep breaths taken within 30 s (4DB), and eight deep breaths taken within 60 s (8DB). This report compares these three techniques in healthy volunteers.


Five healthy subjects breathed through a mouthpiece and wore a nose clip; oxygen was delivered at 180 l/min via a low-resistance T-piece. Each subject repeated each of the three oxygenation techniques four times. The end-tidal fraction of oxygen was measured, and the oxygen uptake at the mouth was measured breath by breath. The additional difference between oxygen uptake at the mouth during the period of breathing oxygen (as compared with that during air breathing) was taken to represent the total oxygen sequestrated into body stores.


The mean +/- SD maximum end-tidal fraction of oxygen after the 4DB method was 0.83 +/- 0.09, which was significantly less than either after the 3-min method (0.92 +/- 0.01; P < 0.04) or after the 8DB method (0.91 +/- 0.04; P < 0.03). The mean additional oxygen taken up during oxygenation with the 4DB method was 1.67 +/- 0.45 l, which was significantly lower than with the 3-min method (2.23 +/- 0.85 l; P < 0.04) or with the 8DB method (2.53 +/- 0.74 l; P < 0.01). There were no significant differences for these variables between the 3-min and 8DB methods.


For the physiologic measurements that were made, both the 3-min and the 8DB method are superior to the 4DB method. The 3-min and 8DB methods seem to be equally effective.

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