The pocket mask is a small device that can be carried on one's person. Air is administered to the patient when the emergency responder exhales through a one-way filter valve. Modern pocket masks have either a built in one-way valve or an attachable, disposable filter to protect the emergency responder from the patient's potentially infectious bodily substances, such as vomit or blood.
Many masks also have a built-in oxygen intake tube, allowing for administration of 50-60% oxygen. Without being hooked up to an external line, exhaled air from the provider can still provide sufficient oxygen to live, up to 16%. Earth's atmosphere consists of approximately 21% oxygen.
The smallest version is a key fob, less than 5 €, containing a thin plastic foil for over the face of the patient, with a one-way valve in its middle. It helps over the disgust to do mouth-to-mouth breathing to an unknown person until professional help arrives. It is often called life key.
While a pocket mask is not as efficient as a bag valve mask, it does have its advantages when only one rescuer is available. As suggested by its name, the pocket mask benefits from a somewhat easier portability when compared to the bag valve mask. Also, in contrast to the bag valve mask, which requires two hands to operate (one to form a seal and the other to squeeze the bag), the pocket mask allows for both of the rescuer's hands to be on the patients head. This hand placement provides a superior seal on the patient's face, and allows the responder to perform a jaw thrust on patients suspected of a spinal injury.
- "Pocket Mask Resuscitation" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-01-18.