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Editor's note: The following article appeared in the July 2010 print issue as a How to Do Anything Better Guide advertorial.
Respiratory protection in healthcare organizations is traditionally along two primary air-purifying technology paths, N95 mask respirators and powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs). Design origins of products of both types are mostly from military and industrial applications.
Significant events this decade affecting infection prevention as well as world economics are underlying motivation for a respirator to emerge that not only integrates the best features of both technology paths, but improves on them. We learned a great deal about our infection prevention preparedness from four of the most significant events in the past 10 years:
-- 9/11 and anthrax proved the reality of the terrorist threat.
-- The explosiveness of SARS provided a real-time demonstration of the pandemic and lethal potential of an aerosolized virus as it spread to every continent in just a few weeks
-- TB, MDR-TB and XDR-TB demonstrate we cannot become complacent regarding bacterial threats as they are smart, they regroup, and they come back to fight again and again.
-- Novel H1N1 influenza forces us to admit that our emergency and pandemic preparedness is good, but not good enough. We learned that many respirator advantages are outweighed by more significant disadvantages.
N95s provide lower protection due to filtration efficiency and poor fit, low user tolerance due to breathing resistance, heat and moisture build-up, and pressure points against the face, and high life-cycle cost due to need for stocking many types and sizes and the time and cost burden of annual fit-testing.
Conventional PAPRs are bulky and extend out from the user's body to interfere with maneuverability, they lack real-time indicators of safe operating air flow and battery charge levels, they are difficult and time-consuming to de-con, and they have high product cost and high life-cycle cost of disposables.
The MAXAIR 2000-700 from Bio-Medical Devices Intl. effectively improved all the negative characteristics of PAPRs in 2007. The 700's unique design roots are from the healthcare applications of Steri-Shield, beginning in 1989. The blower was miniaturized and integrated into a helmet, thereby eliminating the air-tube hose and allowing complete freedom of movement. Always visible in the peripheral vision safety, LEDs were incorporated for real-time indication of safe air-flow and battery charge condition. The elimination of extra connections and numerous uneven surfaces reduced de-con time for reusable parts from many minutes to seconds. The disposable costs were reduced four to six times lower than conventional PAPRs.
The MAXAIR 700 has been recognized for these achievements and has become the respirator of choice for emergency preparedness. A growing number of institutions are placing it in routine daily use in med/surge and ICU units. Yet for universal use in the daily care of suspect and confirmed infectious patients, and particularly for high-frequency, long-duration use as seen with recurring episodes of influenzas as H1N1, a stronger merge of the two traditional technology paths is called for.
Healthcare workers demand and need a more tolerable respirator that is comfortable and convenient, to facilitate their use compliance. They need higher protection without the cost and burden of annual fit testing. They need a respirator that is quick and easy to don and doff and that is compact to allow them to go quickly from patient to patient without restriction. They need a combination of what the N95 was intended to be plus the advantages of the MAXAIR 700, a merging of the best of both technology paths.
BMDI accomplished “the merger” with the introduction of the 710-DLC CAPR System this spring.
The MAXAIR CAPR consists of an even more streamlined, lighter-weight integrated helmet that is even more comfortable for all healthcare activities and easier and quicker to de-con and make ready for re-use.
The unique CAPR DLC is a disposable combination lens-cuff that is easier and quicker to don and doff than an N95. It provides superior filtration protection over N95s without the need for annual fit-testing. And its product cost is comparable to that of an N95 and apportioned goggles.
The MAXAIR CAPR now provides healthcare workers with the functionality, safety, convenience and comfort they need for high compliance use and optimal protection during low, moderate, and high risk challenges of today’s and emerging market needs.
The MAXAIR CAPR now provides healthcare institutions with the optimum daily use respirator that is highly deployable with a life-cycle cost more advantageous than N95s or conventional PAPRs.
The NIOSH-approved MAXAIR CAPR for daily use and MAXAIR 700 for emergency preparedness will be available for demonstration and sale at APIC 2010 in New Orleans, July 11-15. For more information, visit www.maxair-systems.com.