Effects of wearing different face masks on cardiopulmonary performance at rest and exercise in a partially double-blinded randomized cross-over study

  • The use of face masks became mandatory during SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Wearing masks may lead to complaints about laboured breathing and stress. The influence of different masks on cardiopulmonary performance was investigated in a partially double-blinded randomized cross-over design. Forty subjects (19–65 years) underwent body plethysmography, ergometry, cardiopulmonary exercise test and a 4-h wearing period without a mask, with a surgical mask (SM), a community mask (CM), and an FFP2 respirator (FFP2). Cardiopulmonary, physical, capnometric, and blood gas related parameters were recorded. Breathing resistance and work of breathing were significantly increased while wearing a mask. During exercise the increase in minute ventilation tended to be lower and breathing time was significantly longer with mask than without mask. Wearing a mask caused significant minimal decreases in blood oxygen pressure, oxygen saturation, an initial increase in blood and inspiratory carbon dioxide pressure, and a higher perceived physical exertion and temperature and humidity behind the mask under very heavy exercise. All effects were stronger when wearing an FFP2. Wearing face masks at rest and under exercise, changed breathing patterns in the sense of physiological compensation without representing a health risk. Wearing a mask for 4-h during light work had no effect on blood gases.

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Author:Eike Maximilian MarekGND, Vera van KampenORCiDGND, Birger JettkantGND, Benjamin KendziaORCiDGND, Bianca StraußGND, Kirsten SuckerORCiDGND, Melanie UlbrichGND, Anja DeckertGND, Hans BerresheimGND, Christian Georg EisenhawerGND, Frank HoffmeyerGND, Simon WeidhaasGND, Thomas BehrensORCiDGND, Thomas BrüningORCiDGND, Jürgen BüngerORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Scientific reports
Publisher:Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2024/02/08
Date of first Publication:2023/04/28
Publishing Institution:Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsbibliothek
Tag:Open Access Fonds
Issue:Article 6950
First Page:6950-1
Last Page:6950-14
Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Open Access Publication Fund of Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
Institutes/Facilities:Institut für Prävention und Arbeitsmedizin der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung
Dewey Decimal Classification:Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / Medizin, Gesundheit
open_access (DINI-Set):open_access
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY 4.0 - Attribution 4.0 International