Background: Face masks are recommended based on the assumption that they protect against SARS-CoV-2 transmission, however studies on their potential side effects are still lacking. We aimed to evaluate the inhaled air carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration, when wearing masks. Methods: We measured end-tidal CO2 using professional side-stream capnography, with water-removing tubing, (1) without masks, (2) wearing a surgical mask, and (3) wearing a FFP2 respirator (for 5 minutes each while seated after 10 minutes of rest), in 146 healthy volunteers aged 10 to 90 years, from the general population of Ferrara, Italy. The inhaled air CO2 concentration was computed as: ([mask volume × end-tidal CO2] + [tidal volume − mask volume] × ambient air CO2)/tidal volume. Results: With surgical masks, the mean CO2 concentration was 7091 ± 2491 ppm in children, 4835 ± 869 in adults, and 4379 ± 978 in the elderly. With FFP2 respirators, this concentration was 13 665 ± 3655 in children, 8502 ± 1859 in adults, and 9027 ± 1882 in the elderly. The proportion showing a CO2 concentration higher than the 5000 ppm (8-hour average) acceptable threshold for workers was 41.1% with surgical masks, and 99.3% with FFP2 respirators. Adjusting for age, gender, BMI, and smoking, the inhaled air CO2 concentration significantly increased with increasing respiratory rate (mean 10 837 ±3712 ppm among participants ⩾18 breaths/minute, with FFP2 respirators), and among the minors. Conclusion: If these results are confirmed, the current guidelines on mask-wearing should be reevaluated.

Inhaled CO2 Concentration While Wearing Face Masks: A Pilot Study Using Capnography

Acuti Martellucci, Cecilia
Co-primo
;
Flacco, Maria Elena
Co-primo
;
Manzoli, Lamberto
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

Background: Face masks are recommended based on the assumption that they protect against SARS-CoV-2 transmission, however studies on their potential side effects are still lacking. We aimed to evaluate the inhaled air carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration, when wearing masks. Methods: We measured end-tidal CO2 using professional side-stream capnography, with water-removing tubing, (1) without masks, (2) wearing a surgical mask, and (3) wearing a FFP2 respirator (for 5 minutes each while seated after 10 minutes of rest), in 146 healthy volunteers aged 10 to 90 years, from the general population of Ferrara, Italy. The inhaled air CO2 concentration was computed as: ([mask volume × end-tidal CO2] + [tidal volume − mask volume] × ambient air CO2)/tidal volume. Results: With surgical masks, the mean CO2 concentration was 7091 ± 2491 ppm in children, 4835 ± 869 in adults, and 4379 ± 978 in the elderly. With FFP2 respirators, this concentration was 13 665 ± 3655 in children, 8502 ± 1859 in adults, and 9027 ± 1882 in the elderly. The proportion showing a CO2 concentration higher than the 5000 ppm (8-hour average) acceptable threshold for workers was 41.1% with surgical masks, and 99.3% with FFP2 respirators. Adjusting for age, gender, BMI, and smoking, the inhaled air CO2 concentration significantly increased with increasing respiratory rate (mean 10 837 ±3712 ppm among participants ⩾18 breaths/minute, with FFP2 respirators), and among the minors. Conclusion: If these results are confirmed, the current guidelines on mask-wearing should be reevaluated.
2022
Acuti Martellucci, Cecilia; Flacco, Maria Elena; Martellucci, Mosè; Violante, Francesco Saverio; Manzoli, Lamberto
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2493993
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