Manual Resuscitation

What is manual resuscitation?

Manual resuscitation is a form of artificial respiration that uses a breathing bag (manual resuscitator) to assist patients with breathing. It is usually used when the lungs are not functioning properly. The breathing bag is filled with oxygen and is squeezed by hand by the doctor, nurse or respiratory therapist. You may also hear the members of the ICU staff refer to the breathing bag as an Ambu bag. Once squeezed, the bag self-inflates. One end of the bag is attached to an oxygen source and the other end to a facemask or breathing tube.

How long is manual resuscitation used?

This device is used only for short periods of time. If help with breathing is needed for more than a few minutes, a breathing machine (mechanical ventilator) is used in place of the manual resuscitator.

Does manual resuscitation hurt?

No. The patient can sense the air being pushed into the lungs, but it should not hurt.

Are there any potential complications associated with manual resuscitation?

Sometimes gas is pushed into the esophagus and stomach, causing abdominal swelling during use of a manual resuscitator.

Breathing bag (manual resuscitator)