Pilot Study on Modified Adhesive Respirator for Use During COVID-19 Pandemic Published in A&A Practice

A pilot study led by Assistant Professor Richa Wardhan, MD, describing a simple way to modify respirator masks for healthcare providers who fail fit tests has been published in A&A Practice.

The study, titled “Does a Modified Adhesive Respirator Improve the Face Seal for Health Care Workers Who Previously Failed a Fit Test?: A Pilot Study During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic,” was written by Dr. Wardhan; Assistant Professor Meghan Brennan, MD; resident Holden Brown, MD; and fellow Trey Creech, MD.

The COVID-19 pandemic placed tremendous pressure on frontline healthcare workers as supplies of personal protective equipment became scarce. About 30% of healthcare workers do not pass the respirator fit test, which is critical to ensure the respirator is adequately protecting the wearer.

The study in A&A Practice describes an innovation to improve the safety and efficacy of 3M respirators by applying medical-grade, soft, waterproof apparel tape along the edges of the respirator. 

Using this modification to improve the respirator’s seal, 68% of participants who had failed fit tests with their first-choice respirator were able to pass. “Achieving a high success rate with 3M models 1860 and 1860 S is possible by modifying the design and enhancing the fit,” the study concluded.

3 panel image of adhesive tape, the tape on the back of a 3m mask, and the take on the back of the mask with the paper backing removed.