January 23, 2023

Study: Fit test outcomes for N95 masks in HCWs

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study from the University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, finds a large degree of variation in fit testing results for N95 masks in healthcare workers (HCWs).

The researchers retrospectively analyzed 12,582 qualitative fit testing results for several models of N95 masks in 8,809 HCWs.

Among the findings:

  • The overall failure rate was 15.2%.
  • Women had a statistically significant 44% higher likelihood of fit testing failure than men.
  • There were statistically significant differences in failure rates across the brands and types of N95 masks—Fluidshield 46867S had a significantly higher failure rate (49%) than the 3M 1860, 3M 1860S, 3M 8210, and Safelife.

The researchers concluded that although they were unable to find an N95 mask that successfully fit more than 95% of HCWs, they identified poorly functioning masks, which can help with decision-making and budgeting for stocking appropriate N95 masks.


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