Snapshot of Spirometry Use in Academic Allergy/Immunology Divisions, October 2020

October 23, 2020

In early October, the AAAAI COVID-19 Response Task Force was asked how spirometry is being handled by allergy clinics in larger academic institutions. The Task Force shared the inquiry with the A/I Division Directors Committee, and the responses received are summarized below. Among clinics that responded, about half are performing spirometry, and half are not.

Is your clinic performing spirometry? If so, what has changed from pre-COVID?

All allergy departments conducting spirometry have made changes to processes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many require negative COVID-19 tests for some, if not all spirometry patients. Other changes include:

  • Utilizing a negative pressure room solely dedicated to spirometry, or a HEPA filter in standard rooms to reduce wait times between patients.
  • Conducting spirometry with filters that can block 99% of virus particles.
  • Requiring staff performing spirometry to wear full PPE (N95 masks, gowns, gloves, face shields) during the procedure.
  • Adding extra time for cleaning and sanitizing procedures between patients.
  • Nebulizer procedures are not routinely being conducted at this time.
If you are not performing spirometry, is it being done by another area within your institution and are you using other means to assess airway function?
  • Spirometry is referred to a PFT lab, most commonly run by the pulmonology department, and a negative COVID-19 test is required prior to the procedure.
  • Many PFT labs are operating below capacity to ensure time for adequate cleaning and disinfecting between patients. Installation of HEPA filters has allowed some PFT labs to reduce the wait times between patients to as little as 15 minutes.
  • Some PFT labs have negative pressure rooms available, and some utilize body boxes for spirometry.
  • Staff performing spirometry are required to wear full PPE (N95 masks, gowns, gloves, face shields) during the procedure.
  • Nebulizer procedures are not routinely being conducted at this time.

AAAAI members can request a copy of the detailed responses from the A/I Division Directors Committee by emailing practicematters@aaaai.org.

A PDF of this summary is available here.