A prospective study was designed to measure ambient concentrations of pentamidine (100334) in San Francisco Bay Area treatment rooms and assess the potential for adverse respiratory effects resulting from exposure to these concentrations. The study group included 16 health care workers (HCWs) who gave scheduled aerosolized pentamidine (AP) therapy to patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection at nine facilities. Subjects recorded symptoms twice daily and made peak expiratory flow rate measurements four times a day for 3 weeks. The personal breathing zone was sampled for each participant for at least one full workshift. Concentrations of AP in the personal breathing zone samples ranged from less than 0.03 to 62.2 micrograms/cubic meter. No personal respiratory protective equipment was used by the workers except at one site, where a half face mask respirator was used. Various local exhaust ventilation and air movement controls were in place at the sites. Personal breathing zone concentrations of pentamidine were significantly associated with the number of treatments administered. Pentamidine was not detected in the urine of any of the subjects. There was a statistically significant decrease in forced expiratory volume in 1 second after a workshift during which pentamidine was administered. The authors recommend that efforts be made to reduce exposure to AP in health care workers.
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