Study of respirator effect on nasal-oral flow partition

Philip Harber, John Beck, John Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Factors affecting worker tolerance of respiratory personal protective devices are inadequately understood. This study evaluates whether respirator- type loads affected the switch from nasal to oral breathing. Eleven healthy subjects were studied under progressive exercise conditions, using a respirator full-face mask with inspiratory resistance (I), pressure breathing (P) (10 cm H2O end-expiratory pressure), or no load (N). A rapid-response thermistor was used to determine whether flow was predominantly oral or nasal Both P and I increased the percentage of time that breathing was predominantly oral The effect was most pronounced at higher exercise levels. The percentage of mouth breathing appeared to be closely related to the expiratory time. This study suggests that nasal-oral flow partitioning should be considered as a possible determinant of respirator tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-412
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1997


  • Industrial respirator
  • Nasal airflow
  • Oral-nasal partition
  • Respirator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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