Patient mask protects clinicians from contaminants in exhaled breath

Physicians from Omaha-based University of Nebraska Medical Center created a mask for patients that can protect clinicians from potential contaminants, such as coronavirus particles, that patients could expel when they breathe.

The mask, developed by Steven Lisco, MD, chair of the hospital's anesthesiology department, features a face tent, positioned upside down with a viral filter attached, connected to wall suction unit that is then connected to a vacuum source.

The mask "caught more than 90 percent of airborne particles expelled… ultimately preventing the aerosol from entering the patient environment," Dr. Lisco said.

The mask has been approved by the innovation committee at Nebraska Medicine, the hospital's parent, and it is being deployed in operating room for use with asymptomatic patients undergoing monitored anesthesia care who may have COVID-19 and in the post-anesthesia care units.

COVID-19 patients can expel microscopic solid or liquid air particles, which can contaminate the patient's environment. Patients also may produce the microscopic particles when asymptomatic or just before symptoms begin.


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