Do surgeons who wear N95 masks have lower oxygen levels and make more mistakes?

C C Offline

EXCERPTS (Harriet Hall): An individual who was both an anti-vaxxer and anti-masker claimed that “studies were done that show that surgeons who wore N95 masks for extended periods of time were shown to have decreased oxygen levels and were more prone to mistakes.” His argument was “imagine what that would do to kids who were forced to wear masks all day in school.”

Because everything I had been reading indicated that masks did not decrease oxygen levels, this sounded like important, earth-shattering news. I thought it should be easy to find the studies in question. I looked in all the usual places including PubMed, Google Scholar, and of course, good old Google. My search was fruitless. I didn’t give up. I persevered until I finally located one study that seemed to support the anti-vaxxer’s claims … sort of. But not really...

[...] According to experts, “There is no solid scientific evidence that wearing masks causes hypoxia or cognitive impairment. Doctors and healthcare workers who work in operating rooms wear them for hours a day and there has been no evidence that these people have had cognitive decline.”

A 2021 study on the effects of wearing masks on oxygen and ventilation at rest and during physical activity found that “The risk of pathologic gas exchange impairment with cloth masks and surgical masks is near-zero in the general adult population.” (MORE)
Syne Offline
(Sep 15, 2021 02:33 AM)C C Wrote:

INTRO: An individual who was both an anti-vaxxer and anti-masker

Quote:claimed that “studies were done that show that surgeons who wore N95 masks for extended periods of time were shown to have decreased oxygen levels and were more prone to mistakes.”
Where's the citation? This sounds like a straw man, both because of the specificity of N95 masks and the author not citing the source for their criticism, nor whether they asked for this supposed anti-masker's source, before resorting to their own search, likely prone to confirmation bias.

From a full study by the same authors (wonder why they did not cite this one):

This change in SpO2 may be either due to the facial mask or the operational stress, since similar changes were observed in the group performing surgery without a mask. However, it cannot be decided whether stress plays any role on the late changes, namely pulse rate increase and SpO2 level decrease; since surgeons are not allowed to perform major surgery without a facial mask in most institutions.

They conveniently omitted that important info. Other studies only tested for "six 10-minute phases," no where near comparable to 8 hours. There's also more studies, before Covid was a motivating factor:

Breathing through N95 mask materials have been shown to impede gaseous exchange and impose an additional workload on the metabolic system of pregnant healthcare workers, and this needs to be taken into consideration in guidelines for respirator use. The benefits of using N95 mask to prevent serious emerging infectious diseases should be weighed against potential respiratory consequences associated with extended N95 respirator usage.

stryder Offline
It sounds more "Agenda driven" in regards to the scare mongery than actually being scientific.

Indeed masking my face makes itt more difficult to breath, I know this from my own usage (although I use a Tshirt rather than Mask).

My observations when attempting to shop are this, initially a cotton T-shirt is just about breathable. Over time moisture from my breath starts to deposit in the cloth. That "Seals" the cloth from allowing air to pass. The longer I walk around in a shop, the greater I need to breath and it starts kicking in anxiety (The body is able to identify that it's being deprived of air, so it starts to push on the underlining survivalistic instinict... using anxiety to warn that somethings not right.)

By the time I reach the counter after walking the store, To place the products from my basket to the conveyor and pack them up for transit is no mere feat. At that point my physiological level of anxiety is screaming out to run out of the store and tear my face mask off and breath as heavily as possible. That however isn't possible, for instance freaking out at that level in public is frowned on even if technically it's understood why, it would also interrupt the process of actually getting my groceries. So throughout the whole of that anxiety build up, I have to stave it off, move slower, be more conservative so as to not reach a panic attack event.

There are differences between using a proper mask and a T-shirt though and that's totally down to how the mask is manufactured and whether it uses alternative methods (And whether my t-shirt has used fabric softner, since that makes cloth more water proof and therefore less airflow) It's possible for a mask to contain mineral elements to absorb water trapping areosols etc.

The point is my shopping takes a lot longer than 10 minutes, I have to walk there with bags and carry whatever I purchase out of the store in them. I don't drive, so I literally have to carry it back to my place of residence, although I remove the T-shirt for that.
C C Offline
Assuming that he sticks with being "a good example" better than some of his colleagues, by wearing one at more events and for longer intervals... It's probably not encouraging as far as masks in general go...

"I'll personally write a cheque to anyone who can decipher what Bill Biden is trying to convey here."

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