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Anesth Analg. 2010 Oct;111(4):933-45. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3181e780f8. Epub 2010 Sep 1.

Special article: personal protective equipment for care of pandemic influenza patients: a training workshop for the powered air purifying respirator.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University of Wisconsin Hospitals, Madison, WI 53792-0001, USA.


Virulent respiratory infectious diseases may present a life-threatening risk for health care professionals during aerosol-generating procedures, including endotracheal intubation. The 2009 Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) brings this concern to the immediate forefront. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that, when performing or participating in aerosol-generating procedures on patients with virulent contagious respiratory diseases, health care professionals must wear a minimum of the N95 respirator, and they may wish to consider using the powered air purifying respirator (PAPR). For influenza and other diseases transmitted by both respiratory and contact modes, protective respirators must be combined with contact precautions. The PAPR provides 2.5 to 100 times greater protection than the N95, when used within the context of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration-compliant respiratory protection program. The relative protective capability of a respirator is quantified using the assigned protection factor. The level of protection designated by the APF can only be achieved with appropriate training and correct use of the respirator. Face seal leakage limits the protective capability of the N95 respirator, and fit testing does not assure the ability to maintain a tight face seal. The protective capability of the PAPR will be defeated by improper handling of contaminated equipment, incorrect assembly and maintenance, and improper don (put on) and doff (take off) procedures. Stress, discomfort, and physical encumbrance may impair performance. Acclimatization through training will mitigate these effects. Training in the use of PAPRs in advance of their need is strongly advised. "Just in time" training is unlikely to provide adequate preparation for groups of practitioners requiring specialized personal protective equipment during a pandemic. Employee health departments in hospitals may not presently have a PAPR training program in place. Anesthesia and critical care providers would be well advised to take the lead in working with their hospitals' employee health departments to establish a PAPR training program where none exists. User instructions state that the PAPR should not be used during surgery because it generates positive outward airflow, and may increase the risk of wound infection. Clarification of this prohibition and acceptable solutions are currently lacking and need to be addressed. The surgical hood system is not an acceptable alternative. We provide on line a PAPR training workshop. Supporting information is presented here. Anesthesia and critical care providers may use this workshop to supplement, but not substitute for, the manufacturers' detailed use and maintenance instructions.

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