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.