A small study confirmed that the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required in operating rooms and intensive care units can make the wearer sick.
The findings help explain doctors’ reports of difficulty breathing, headaches and mental weakness while wearing the full protective suit, which includes a high-quality mask, face shield and gloves, the researchers said.
Of the eight surgeons who volunteered for the study, PPE obstructed breathing, resulting in high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood and low levels of oxygen.
Dr Wayne Lewis of the University of Wales Hospital in Cardiff said: “It was found that the air inhaled inside the PPE mask after two hours contains nearly 8% of carbon dioxide – 260 times more than atmospheric levels (0.03%).”
His team said Saturday in the British Journal of Surgery that the changes were much greater than those seen with standard operating room clothing, and could cause fluctuations in cerebral blood flow, shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, nausea, mental weakness and fatigue. Headache.
Three of the surgeons experienced headaches related to altered blood flow in one of the main arteries of the brain. “These results have been observed in young, fit physicians who ask what might appear in mature professionals with existing medical problems together, or anyone who works two hours after this study,” Lewis said.
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