Occupational Asthma Reference

Helgeson SA, Lim KG, Lee AS, Niven AS, Patel NM, Aerosol Generation during Spirometry, Annals of the American Thoracic Society, 2020;17:1637-1639,https://doi.org/10.1513/AnnalsATS.202005-569RL

Keywords: spirometry, aerosol generation, USA

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The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has severely restricted pulmonary diagnostic testing because of the concern of droplet and aerosol generation by procedures conducted in small test rooms. SARS-CoV-2 infection is characterized by viral shedding from the upper and lower respiratory tracts; in addition, SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been detected in sampled air throughout a hospital, which leads to this concern (1–4). Pulmonary function laboratories are justifiably concerned because test maneuvers involve forceful breathing, which may generate infectious particles. Normal speaking has also been reported to generate small-droplet aerosols, increasing the potential exposure risk in close contact with infected individuals (5–7). Currently, there are no studies evaluating particle generation during pulmonary function tests (PFTs). To better understand the risk associated with PFTs, we sought to quantify and characterize the amount of detectable aerosol and droplet generation during routine pulmonary function studies at prespecified distances.

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