All respiratory care represents a risk of aerosol generating procedures. High velocity/high flow therapy, when properly fitted and applied, is associated with a low risk of airborne transmissions.1,2,3
The application of a surgical mask placed over the nose and mouth of the patient receiving high velocity therapy substantially reduces the spread of airborne particles by reducing their velocity and trapping the particles.
With the mask applied, the dispersion captured is similar to that of patient breathing.
A study examining the risk of pathogen dispersal during high flow therapy found “that dispersal was limited to the proximal area of the face and nasal cannula, suggesting that high-flow therapy does not increase the risk of droplet and contact infection.”4
A meta-analysis assessed the risk of transmitting SARS to healthcare workers, due to various interventions. Intubation and associated procedures carry the most risk. High flow therapy actually trended towards reduced risk of transmission. This suggests that using high flow therapy to avoid intubation might reduce transmission risk.5
Click to learn more in the COVID-19 Transmission Assessment Report.