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Carbon dioxide exposures to medical personnel as a result of wearing surgical isolation suits.
Echt A; Burroughs GE; Rubman MH; Booher DE
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1998 Feb; 13(2):87-90
Carbon-dioxide (124389) (CO2) build up in surgical isolation suits was examined. Four subjects performed light exercise on an upper extremity ergometer for 15 minutes at an intensity level similar to that of orthopedic surgery while wearing a surgical gown with no helmet, each of four surgical helmets, or two NIOSH approved powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs). A pulse oximeter was used to measure heart rate and blood oxygen saturation. Body temperature was determined before and after each trial. The CO2 concentration in the surgical helmet system was measured using a portable infrared indicator. The CO2 concentration in room air was also determined. A total of 11 surgical helmet configurations were tested. For each of the surgical helmets and PAPRs tested, mean CO2 concentrations in the helmet system varied from 5,500 to 11,700 parts per million (ppm). These CO2 levels were in excess of the 8 hour time weighted average CO2 exposure limit of 5,000ppm. CO2 levels in room air averaged 450ppm. On average, pretest and posttest oral temperatures differed by 0.2 degrees-C. Neither the surgical helmets nor the PAPRs resulted in heat strain. The authors conclude that CO2 accumulates inside surgical helmets and PAPRs during light exercise. Therefore, medical personnel wearing surgical helmets or PAPRs during orthopedic surgical procedures may be overexposed to CO2.
NIOSH-Author; Humans; Respiratory-gases; Air-purifying-respirators; Protective-clothing; Personal-protection; Physical-exercise; Body-temperature; Gas-sampling; Time-weighted-average-exposure; Physiological-response; Exposure-limits; Exposure-levels; Exposure-assessment
Issue of Publication
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division