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Qualitative fit test outcomes for N95 filtering facepiece respirators in health care workers

      Highlights

      • Qualitative fit test pass rates varied widely across FFR models.
      • Women had a higher likelihood of failure than men.
      • NIOSH-approved FFRs were designed based on data that underrepresented women.
      • Institutions should collect qualitative fit testing data to guide FFR selection.

      Abstract

      Background

      We analyzed the qualitative fit test results of the filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) used at our institution to determine their performance and utility.

      Methods

      We retrospectively analyzed 12,582 qualitative fit testing results for several FFR models among 8,809 health care workers (HCWs).

      Results

      The overall failure rate for HCWs was 15.2%. Nearly one-third (2933/8809, 33.3%) had multiple FFRs fit tested. HCW sex was a statistically significant indicator of fit testing failure (χ2 = 29.9, df = 1, P < .001), with women having a 44% higher likelihood (OR, 1.4; 95% CI: 1.27–1.65) than men. There were statistically significant differences in the failure rate across FFRs (Fig 4, F[5, 12475] = 8.4, P < .001). Fluidshield 46867S had a significantly higher failure rate (49%) than the 3M 1860 (P = .012), 3M 1860S (P < .001), 3M 8210 (P < .001), and Safelife (P < .001) FFRs.

      Conclusions

      There was a large degree of variation in fit testing results for the FFRs tested. Although we were unable to find an FFR that fit more than 95% of the HCWs successfully, we identified poorly functioning FFRs that can help our institution with decision-making and budgeting for acquisition and stocking appropriate FFRs.

      Key Words

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