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Pulmonary and heart rate responses to wearing N95 filtering facepiece respirators.
Kim J-H; Benson SM; Roberge RJ
Am J Infect Control 2013 Jan; 41(1):24-27
Background: Filtering facepiece respirators are the most common respirator worn by US health care and industrial workers, yet little is known on the physiologic impact of wearing this protective equipment. Methods: Twenty young, healthy subjects exercised on a treadmill at a low-moderate (5.6 km/h) work rate while wearing 4 different models of N95 filtering facepiece respirators for 1 hour each, 2 models of which were equipped with exhalation valves, while being monitored for physiologic variables. Results: Compared with controls, respirator use was associated with mean 1 hour increases in heart rate (range, 5.7-10.6 beats per minute, P < .001), respiratory rate (range, 1.4-2.4 breaths per minute, P < .05), and transcutaneous carbon dioxide (range, 1.7-3.0 mm Hg, P < .001). No significant differences in oxygen saturation between controls and respirators were noted (P > .05). Conclusion: The pulmonary and heart rate responses to wearing a filtering facepiece respirator for 1 hour at a low-moderate work rate are relatively small and should generally be well tolerated by healthy persons.
Face-shields; Filters; Respirators; Respiratory-protection; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Health-care-personnel; Industrial-environment; Physiological-effects; Humans; Men; Women; Heart-rate; Respiratory-rate; Pulmonary-function; Pulmonary-system; Author Keywords: N95 filtering facepiece respirators; Pulmonary effects; Heart rate; Exhalation valve
Raymond J. Roberge, MD, MPH, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, 626 Cochrans Mill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Issue of Publication
Healthcare and Social Assistance
American Journal of Infection Control
Page last reviewed: February 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division