In a recent study, researchers found that routine face mask usage during surgery did not raise the likelihood of surgical personnel developing a coronavirus infection. Patients undergoing general anesthesia are often ventilated via the use of a face mask. Because it is an “aerosol-generating process,” as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), this technique has resulted in changes in operating room procedures and efficiency during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the conclusions of the research team.
It Is Not Necessary To Regularly Ventilate Surgical Patients
Face mask ventilation in a patient at risk of developing COVID-19 necessitates the development of new guidelines for anesthesiologists after the classification of the disease. Patients are required to wear a respirator mask, eye protection, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves and the surgical team members around them.
Each operation is delayed by up to 30 minutes per patient in order to guarantee that all potentially infectious aerosols have been removed from the operating room. This allows for enough air changes in the operating room. In the United Kingdom, Dr. Andrew Shrimpton of the University of Bristol and his colleagues claim that these procedures result in a significant drop in the number of operations performed each day and contribute to a backlog in the whole healthcare system.
During regular face mask ventilation as well as face mask ventilation with a purposefully induced air leak, the researchers measured the amount of respiratory aerosol formed by sedated subjects to determine if such measures were necessary. It is essential to create a leak in order to simulate the worst-case scenario of aerosols spreading into the atmosphere. The quantity of aerosol created by the patients’ regular breathing and coughing was compared to the amount of aerosol generated by the researchers.
Aerosol concentrations varied from 191 particles per liter when breathed normally to three particles per liter while wearing a face mask with no leaks and eleven particles per liter when wearing an intentionally leaky face mask.
The researchers discovered that when comparing face mask ventilation with no leak to normal breathing, the levels were 64 times lower with a leaky face mask and 17 times lower with a purposefully leaked face mask. According to the publication, the findings were published on October 26th, 2018, in the journal Anaesthesia. According to the researchers, when a patient coughed, there were 1,260 peak particle concentrations per liter, as opposed to 60 peak particle concentrations (twenty times lower) for normal face mask ventilation and 120 peak particle concentrations (ten times quieter) for an intentionally leaked face mask.
“Face mask ventilation does not create large amounts of bioaerosol,” according to Shrimpton, “even when done with a purposeful leak.” “However, despite the fact that there had been a deliberate leak, the low concentration of aerosol recorded during face mask ventilation was comparable to that of the worst-case scenario. This is really encouraging news. When compared to face mask ventilation, natural breathing and an intentional cough produce several times the amount of aerosol produced by the latter “as a result of the assertions of Shrimpton and his companions.