Rebreathing mask- partial and non- rebreathing mask features and comparison

Rebreathing mask

A Rebreathing mask is one of the oxygen delivery devices. It is a kind of aerosol mask that consists of a reservoir bag at the bottom. These reservoir bags have a volume of about 1 liter to store pure oxygen.  Thus the bag should always be at least 1/3 or 1/2 inflated with oxygen.


  • Possibility of neither eating nor talking using this mask
  • Chances of skin irritation around the nose and ear
  • Chances of air leakage from the mask
  • Might need to adjust mask from time to time

Types of rebreathing mask

partial rebreathing mask, non-rebreathing mask

Two types of rebreathing masks are available in the market. Major differences among those masks are as follows.

Partial rebreathing mask Non- rebreathing mask
Since there is no valve in the mask, there is a partial chance of exhaled air being inspired again. There may be one, two, or more valves attached to the mask and tube connecting the reservoir bag. These valves allow the one-way flow of the gas and thus there is no chance of inhaling the exhaled gas.
The fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) ranges from 40% to 70%. FiO2 ranges from 60% to 80% for a single valve mask. In the case of a double valve mask, it can go up to 100%.
It is a low flow device. It may either be a low flow or high flow device.
Flow rate ranges from 8 to 15 liters per minute. Flow rate ranges from 10 to 15 liters per minute.
There is no risk for the suffocation of the patient. If the valve gets damaged then the patient will experience suffocation. So, do not leave the patient alone while using this mask.
Generally, used for a longer period of time. Generally, used for a short period of time only. For example, during transportation of the patient.

Risk of non-rebreathing mask

Some of the risks of non-rebreathing masks are as follows:

  • Suffocation of the patient
  • Lack of humidity
  • High chance of hyperoxygenation

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