Objective. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant impact on healthcare systems worldwide. The rate of infected healthcare workers is > 10% in Italy. Within this dramatic scenario, the development of new personal protective equipment (PPE) devices is mandatory. This study focuses on validation of modified full-face snorkel masks (MFFSM) as safe and protective equipment against SARS-CoV-2 infection during diagnostic and therapeutic procedures on the upper aerodigestive tract.

Methods. Five different MFFSM were tested during otolaryngological surgery and in anaesthesia procedures. Data were collected through an online survey to assess the feedback of operators. pO2 and pCO2 monitoring values during procedures were recorded in selected cases. Results. All five MFFSM tested were easy to use and gave all operators a sound “feeling” of protection. All clinicians involved had common agreement regarding safety and the userfriendly format.

Conclusions. In the future, specific development of different type of masks for protection in the operating room, intensive care units and/or office will be possible as a joint venture between clinicians and developers. Goals for clinicians include better definition of needs and priorities, while developers can devote their expertise to produce devices that meet medical requirements.