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PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF A SPIT RESTRAINT DEVICE SATURATED WITH ARTIFICIAL SALIVA

Published:December 17, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jemermed.2022.12.003

      Abstract

      Background

      Spit restraint devices, also referred to as spit hoods, spit masks, or spit socks, are used by law enforcement and medical personnel to minimize transmission of communicable disease from bodily fluids from agitated individuals. Several lawsuits have implicated spit restraint devices as contributing to the death of individuals who are physically restrained by means of asphyxiation due to saturation of the mesh restraint device with saliva.

      Objectives

      This study aims to evaluate whether a saturated spit restraint device has any clinically significant effects on the ventilatory or circulatory parameters of healthy adult subjects.

      Methods

      Subjects wore a spit restraint device dampened with 0.5% carboxymethylcellulose, an artificial saliva. Baseline vitals were taken, and a wet spit restraint device was then placed over the subject's head, and repeat measurements were taken at 10, 20, 30, and 45 min. A second spit restraint device was placed 15 min after the first. Measurements at 10, 20, 30, and 45 min were compared with baseline using paired t-tests.

      Results

      The mean age of 10 subjects was 33.8 years, and 50% were female. There was no significant difference between baseline and while wearing the spit sock for 10, 20, 30, and 45 min for the measured parameters including heart rate, oxygen saturation, end-tidal CO2, respiratory rate, or blood pressure. No subject indicated respiratory distress or had to terminate the study.

      Conclusions

      In healthy adult subjects, there were no statistically or clinically significant differences in ventilatory or circulatory parameters while wearing the saturated spit restraint.

      Keywords

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