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Wilderness Environ Med. 2009 Spring;20(1):61-5. doi: 10.1580/08-WEME-BR-183.1.

The Snow Snorkel: a proof of concept study.

Author information

1
Centre for Altitude, Space and Extreme Environment Medicine, Institute of Human Health and Performance, Highgate Hill, London, UK. jwindsor@doctors.org.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To demonstrate that the Snow Snorkel can be used safely by healthy volunteers buried in snow for up to 1 hour.

METHODS:

Nine healthy male volunteers were placed in a shoulder-width trench and buried with snow to a depth of 30 to 40 cm. The study was divided into 2 stages. The first stage (Stage 1) was performed with the Snow Snorkel in operation (60-minute duration) and was then followed by a second stage (Stage 2) (15-minute duration) when the device was removed. Arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2), heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), axillary temperature (T), and 3-lead electrocardiography (ECG) were monitored throughout the study.

RESULTS:

Of the 9 volunteers who were enrolled, 7 were able to complete Stage 1, while only 3 were able to complete Stage 2. In those who completed Stage 1, the mean HR fell by 14.1 beats/min (P = .002), while RR (P = .5) and SaO2 (P = .7) remained unchanged compared to baseline measurements. There were no changes in T or ECG.

CONCLUSIONS:

Simple systems such as the Snow Snorkel are effective during snow burial and warrant further investigation.

PMID:
19364164
DOI:
10.1580/08-WEME-BR-183.1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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