Comparison of different P2/N95 filtering facepieces on quantitative fit testing in an Australian healthcare setting

Comparison of different P2/N95 filtering facepieces on quantitative fit testing in an Australian healthcare setting

 

CIA: Dr Caitlin Low

The aim of this observational study is to compare the pass rate of four different brand and styles of P2/N95 FFP in an Australian healthcare setting using quantitative fit testing. 

Project summary

P2/N95 filtering facepieces (FFP) are medical products designed to minimize the transmission of airborne diseases in healthcare settings. To be effective, a tight seal has to form between the FFP and the user’s face. The gold standard for assessing the adequacy of fit is with fit testing. Quantitative fit testing is an objective test which uses a machine such as a PortaCount to sample the number of microscopic particles within the FFP and in ambient air. An overall fit factor is calculated by the machine by comparing the ratio of particles within the FFP and in ambient air over the duration of the test.

Previous studies from overseas have found that certain FFPs are more likely to pass fit testing than others. However, there are no studies comparing different P2/N95 FFP using quantitative fit testing in an Australian healthcare setting. This is significant because health services may purchase large quantities of FPPs to find that the particular FFP does not fit a large proportion of Australian healthcare workers. If all the P2/N95 FFP pass fit testing equally, then secondary factors such as ease of donning/doffing and comfort may be used to guide purchase of P2/N95 FFP.

The aim of this observational study is to compare the pass rate of four different brand and styles of P2/N95 FFP in an Australian healthcare setting using quantitative fit testing. The secondary aims are to assess the ease of donning and doffing, comfort and to assess if factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, BMI and facial dimensions affect the likelihood of passing fit testing.
 
The data from this study will inform health care facilities on appropriate P2/N95 FFPs to stock for the Australian healthcare population.  This will reduce the cost of fit testing and increase the safety of healthcare workers through reduced risk of transmission of airborne diseases such as COVID-19.
 

Chief investigators

Dr Caitlin Low, Box Hill Hospital, Melbourne.

Funding

The project was awarded $A15,671 through the ANZCA research grants program for 2022.   

Last updated 11:45 8.03.2022