Inspiré du concept du respirateur à épuration d’air motorisé (PAPR), le casque AerosolVE crée un espace personnel à pression négative pour contenir les particules infectieuses aérosolisées produites par les patients, rendant ainsi la cabine d’un véhicule de SMU plus sûre pour les prestataires. Le casque a été développé initialement pour être utilisé dans les hôpitaux et pourrait être d’une grande utilité dans le cadre préhospitalier. L’objectif de cette étude était de déterminer l’efficacité et la sécurité du casque dans l’atténuation de la propagation simulée de particules infectieuses dans diverses plateformes de transport du SAMU pendant l’utilisation de l’AGP.
Background/Objective: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created challenges in maintaining the safety of prehospital providers caring for patients. Reports have shown increased rates of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provider infection with COVID-19 after patient care exposure, especially while utilizing aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs). Given the increased risk and rising call volumes for AGP-necessitating complaints, development of novel devices for the protection of EMS clinicians is of great importance. Drawn from the concept of the powered air purifying respirator (PAPR), the AerosolVE helmet creates a personal negative pressure space to contain aerosolized infectious particles produced by patients, making the cabin of an EMS vehicle safer for providers. The helmet was developed initially for use in hospitals and could be of significant use in the prehospital setting. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of the helmet in mitigating simulated infectious particle spread in varied EMS transport platforms during AGP utilization. Methods: Fifteen healthy volunteers were enrolled and distributed amongst three EMS vehicles: a ground ambulance, a medical helicopter, and a medical jet. Sodium chloride particles were used to simulate infectious particles, and particle counts were obtained in numerous locations close to the helmet and around the patient compartment. Counts near the helmet were compared to ambient air with and without use of AGPs (non-rebreather mask [NRB], continuous positive airway pressure mask [CPAP], and high-flow nasal cannula [HFNC]). Results: Without the helmet fan on, the particle generator alone and with all AGPs produced particle counts inside the helmet significantly higher than ambient particle counts. With the fan on, there was no significant difference in particle counts around the helmet compared to baseline ambient particle counts. Particle counts at the filter exit averaged less than one despite markedly higher particle counts inside the helmet. Conclusion: Given the risk to EMS providers by communicable respiratory diseases, development of devices to improve safety while still enabling use of respiratory therapies is of paramount importance. The AerosolVE helmet demonstrated efficacy in creating a negative pressure environment and provided significant filtration of simulated respiratory droplets, thus making the confined space of transport vehicles potentially safer for EMS personnel.