Respirator physiologic impact in persons with mild respiratory disease

J Occup Environ Med. 2010 Feb;52(2):155-62. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181ca0ec9.


Objective: To assess whether mild respiratory disease affects physiologic adaptation to respirator use.

Methods: The study compared the respiratory effects of dual cartridge half face mask and filtering facepeice (N95) respirators while performing simulated-work tasks. Subjects with mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (n = 14), asthma (n = 42), chronic rhinitis (n = 17), and normal respiratory status (n = 24) were studied. Mixed model regression analyses determined the effects of respirator type, disease status, and the respirator-disease interactions.

Results: Respirator type significantly affected several physiologic measures. Respirator type effects differed among disease categories as shown by statistically significant interaction terms. Respiratory timing parameters were more affected than ventilatory volumes. In general, persons with asthma showed greater respirator-disease interactions than chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rhinitis, or healthy subjects.

Conclusions: The effects of respirator type differ according to the category of respiratory disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Asthma / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Flow Rates
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plethysmography
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / prevention & control
  • Regression Analysis
  • Respiratory Protective Devices* / standards
  • Respiratory Rate
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Rhinitis / physiopathology
  • Rhinitis / prevention & control
  • Tidal Volume