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Common, inexpensive face masks are often used to deliver oxygen to patients. They are usually held in place by elastic which covers the nose and mouth with oxygen delivered through a plastic tube attached to the base of the mask. There is no attempt to seal the mask and face. Masks that seal preventing entry of external air are more complex, difficult to fit, and prone to leakage (eg a seal is difficult with a beard). CPAP devices used for sleep apnea are of this type.
The Exit Bag produces rapid loss of consciousness by ensuring that NO oxygen is inhaled. To achieve this using a mask a perfect seal would need to be maintained till death. Even with a well fitting sealing mask this is difficult, as the muscles and contours of the face change as consciousness is lost. Attempting a hypoxic death using a sealing mask is risky and NOT recommended.
Is it necessary to have more than one cylinder to ensure sufficient gas is available?
No. Using the Max Dog nitrogen system, the flow control regulator ensures that a full cylinder will provide gas at 15 litres/min for >20 min - more than enough for a peaceful death.
Using a Balloon Time helium cylinder or similar and the Exit flow control fitting, even the smaller (250 litre) cylinder will provide sufficient gas for enough time (Fig 5.2). However, if the tube is to be connected directly to the Balloon Time cylinder with no gas flow regulation (other than the cylinder on/off tap), multiple cylinders should be employed.