High-Risk Aerosol-Generating Procedures in COVID-19: Respiratory Protective Equipment Considerations.Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2020 07; 163(1):98-103.OH
The correct selection and utilization of respiratory personal protective equipment is of the utmost importance in the current COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially true for health care workers exposed to high-risk aerosol-generating procedures, including otolaryngologists, ophthalmologists, neurosurgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, and laparoscopic surgeons. This communication provides a review of approved forms of respiratory protection and compares their characteristics, including surgical masks, N95 respirator, elastomeric respirators, powered air-purifying respirators, and controlled air-purifying respirators. For standard airborne precautions, N95 respirator are appropriate for respiratory protection. However, high-risk aerosol-generating procedures may create aerosolization of high viral loads that represent increased risk to health care workers. In these situations, enhanced respiratory protection with filters certified as 99, 100, or HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) may be appropriate.