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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 224-227

Effects of long-duration wearing of personal protective equipment with n95 masks on blood oxygen concentration and pulse rate among dental professionals

1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Government Dental College, Thrissur, Kerala, India
2 Department of Pedodontics, Government Dental College, Thrissur, Kerala, India
3 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Government Dental College, Thrissur, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Divya Kallanchira Devaraj
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Government Dental College, Thrissur, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jdrr.jdrr_98_22

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Background: The importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health-care professionals working in an infective environment has been highlighted again in this COVID pandemic. CDC recommends the use of PPE with FFp2/N95 wear in dental health professionals. There are studies revealing the varied physiological as well as psychological impact of long-duration wear of PPE in health professionals. This study aims to evaluate the effects of wearing PPE with N95 mask before donning and after doffing (for 4 h) on the oxygen saturation levels and pulse rate. Materials and Methods: Forty dental surgeons of both sexes with informed consent working at a government dental college, in Kerala, were studied by a standard pulse oximetry test for oxygen saturation and pulse rate before donning and after doffing of PPE with FFP2/N95 respirator over 4 h duration. They were ensured to be hemodynamically stable, breathing room air under standard room temperature, and humidity. Data were entered and evaluated using a standard paired t-test using SPSS version 20. Results: The mean age group of the dental surgeons was 39 ± 9 years, and 60% were male. The mean values of oxygen saturation before donning and after doffing were 97.6 (1.1) and 96.7 (1.2), respectively, and the difference was significant (P < 0.01). The pulse rate before donning and after doffing was found to be 79.7 (6.7) and 81.2 (6.7), respectively, with significance (P < 0.01). However, the difference was not significant according to gender or age groups. Conclusion: The decrease in oxygen saturation and an increase in heart rate among dental surgeons were found to be significant after 4 h wear of PPE with FFP2 respirator. Nevertheless, these data of physiological impact of PPE cannot overshadow the risk-benefit ratio of PPE wear. The cautious use of PPE with improved technology can mitigate the risks involved in its use.

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