The CPAP Helmet

NOT just for COVID-19

25th July 2021

Before COVID-19 helmets/hoods were often the last resort for patients not tolerating a face mask. Recent positive experiences for both patient and caregiver has seen their popularity increase to become a first-choice interface.

Benefits include:

  • Less nursing time spent managing leaks
  • Improved staff and environmental protection
  • Lower flows

Safety is paramount and with all CPAP therapies appropriate monitoring should be adopted. The FD140i includes a dedicated CPAP Helmet mode with:

  • Default flow of 60L/min
  • Minimum flow of 40mL/min
  • High and low pressure alarms
  • Respiratory rate
  • Apnoea alarm


Setting up the helmet

For ease-of-use Armstrong medical helmets/hoods are supplied with all accessories for a quick and simple set up.

Managing patients with COVID-19

The CPAP helmet/hood has significant clinical value for the management of COVID-19 patients with ARDs. According to Dejan Radovanovic et al. in their recent publication ‘Helmet CPAP to Treat Acute Hypoxemic Respiratory Failure in Patients with COVID-19: A Management Strategy Proposal;’

“The application of CPAP with the helmet can represent a valid pulmonary support in the adequate setting and with simple monitoring tools, making it a suitable bridge to ICU or a supportive treatment to improve patients’ outcomes.”

Read the full paper by D. Radovanovic et al. here.


Avoiding intubation

Reducing the number of intubated patients can significantly alleviate the pressure on both ICU staff and equipment.

According to R. J. Ing et al. in the editorial ‘Role of Helmet-Delivered Non-invasive Pressure Support Ventilation in COVID-19 Patients’ suggested that the use of the helmet could mean endotracheal intubation is avoided.

“With the use of the helmet, the need for early rapid intubation can be delayed safely while a patient is observed carefully for any improvement in disease or deterioration in condition. This may enable endotracheal intubation to be avoided.”

Read the full paper by R. J. Ing et al. here.

Patel et al. studied the ‘Effect of Non-invasive Ventilation Delivered by Helmet vs Face Mask on the Rate of Endotracheal Intubation in Patients With Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.’

Their research found that the intubation rate was 61.5% for the face mask group and 18.2% for the helmet group. The helmet was also associated with improved ventilator-free days and significantly reduced ICU length of stay and 90-day mortality.

Read the full paper by B. K. Patel et al. here.

Improved Patient Comfort

The CPAP helmet is well tolerated for prolonged periods, reducing the need for sedation and enabling the patient to remain responsive. The helmet does not need to be removed for eating and drinking and can also reduce the discomfort and risks associated with extended face mask use such as facial ulcers and claustrophobia.

According to A. S. Rali et al. in their case series,
‘Helmet CPAP revisited in COVID-19 pneumonia: A case series’

“The helmet does not have any pressure points on the face, thereby reducing patient discomfort and improving device tolerance without the risk of skin necrosis. The helmet allows the patient to see, read, talk, and interact more easily than other NIV respiratory devices.”

Read the full paper by A. S. Rali et al. here.

Enhanced Protection

As contaminated droplets remain in the helmet, with no or minimum air leaks, the potential for healthcare workers to be exposed to pathogens is very low.

A. S. Rali et al. highlighted significant concern about the exposure of health care workers to aerosolized viral pathogens when providing NIPPV with a facemask.

“The helmet interface achieves the dual objective of providing NIPPV while also minimizing aerosolization”

R. J. Ing et al. discuss further;

“The helmet allows for a safe means of containing droplet and aerolisation of virus particles by the use of a heat-moisture exchange filter on the inspiratory and expiratory limbs of the helmet.”

Dejan Radovanovic et al. agree;

“A reduced room contamination may also improve patients’ clinical management, increasing the safety of the healthcare workers involved in the assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Streamlining of Care

Hollie Ward, Practice Trainer and Nurse Practitioner, and Amanda Harris, Practice Educator, of the Salford Royal Hospital, describe how the use of the helmet not only improved patient comfort but it also gave patients more independence, reduced alarms due to absence of leaks and allowed staff to improve productivity;

“Because patients were a lot more independent on a helmet from a nursing care perspective it allowed us to do more jobs and increased availability to other patients. Our productivity was probably better.”

When the helmet was used in combination with the FD140 dual flow driver, Hollie and Amanda describe how it supported staff, using the dedicated helmet mode on the device;

“It was great to have a helmet mode. That safety mechanism preventing flow going to less than 40L/min was fantastic. In an environment where we had a lot of new staff, we knew the patients were kept safe.”

Read the “Protocol for Helmet CPAP” with Hollie Ward and Amanda Harris of the Salford Royal Hospital here.

FD140i with CPAP Helmet / Hood

Request a product demo to find out more.

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