Aim and objective: Fogging of eyeglasses while wearing N95 respirators is common. It is commonly held that the N95 respirator has a poor fit if there is fogging of eyeglasses. We conducted this prospective, pilot study to determine if fogging of eyeglasses predicts poor fit of N95 respirator.
Materials and methods: Seventy volunteer healthcare workers from a tertiary intensive care unit in Sydney, Australia participated. The participants donned one of the following N95 respirators: three-panel flat-fold respirator (3M 1870), cup-shaped respirator (3M 1860), or a duckbill respirator. After a satisfactory “user seal check” as recommended by the manufacturer, the participants donned eyeglasses and checked for fogging. A quantitative fit test (QnFT) of the respirator was then performed (using PortaCount Respirator Fit Tester 8048, TSI Inc., Minnesota, USA). A fit factor of <100 on quantitative fit testing indicates poor fit. The sensitivity and specificity for fogging of eyeglasses (index test) to predict the poor fit of N95 respirator was determined, compared to QnFT (gold standard test).
Results: Fogging of eyeglasses as a predictor of poor respirator fit (i.e., fit factor <100 on QnFT) had sensitivity of 71% (95% CI, 54–85%) and specificity 46% (95% CI, 29–63%). The odds ratio of fogging as a predictor for poor fit was 2.10 (95% CI, 0.78–5.67), with a two-tailed p-value of 0.22 (not significant). The receiver operating characteristic curve for fogging of eyeglasses as a diagnostic test had the area under the curve of 0.59.
Conclusion: Fogging of eyeglasses is neither a sensitive nor a specific predictor for poor fit of N95 respirators.
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