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Modified full-face snorkel mask: answer to the PPE crisis?
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  1. Harshul D Measuria,
  2. Yash V Verma,
  3. Ryan Kerstein,
  4. Sarah Tucker
  1. Department of Plastic Surgery, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Harshul D Measuria, Department of Plastic Surgery, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK; harshulmeasuria{at}doctors.org.uk

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What are the new findings?

  • A commercially available full-face snorkel mask can be modified to create a variety of respiratory assisting devices.

  • Combining a connector piece and a heat and moisture exchange filter to a full-face snorkel mask can create a reusable piece of respiratory and eye protecting personal protective equipment (PPE).

  • Challenges to overcome using this system include carbon dioxide clearance, satisfactory fit and certification testing.

  • Additional challenges such as cleaning regimes and unfiltered exhaled air still need to be tackled.

How might it impact on healthcare in the future?

  • In an emergency crisis situation, however, this adaptation could prove to be an easily accessible solution for all to have level 2 PPE made available at low cost and rapid production.

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) preparations and supply across the UK. In an emergency, we have all had to adapt to new living and working conditions. As the government moves to relax the lockdown1 and recommend the use of masks to be worn by the general public, supply problems are likely to continue, hindering the health service. Of particular concern will be the need for adequate protection to allow clinicians to be comfortable in the PPE they are wearing.

There is a definite shortage in supply and clinicians are understandably concerned about this. Two surveys undertaken by the Royal College of Surgeons of 2000 of their members highlighted that over a third of surgeons felt that their Trust did not have adequate PPE, particularly FFP3 masks and full-face visors. Over a quarter of surgeons were not confident that the supplied PPE had been adequately fit tested, with several hospitals around the country removing fit testing altogether instead adopting the fit check alone. …

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