Sensor Contamination

Last Updated: March 16, 2017

Definition - What does Sensor Contamination mean?

In spirometry, sensor contamination testing refers to using a fixed, or disposable sensor, within a mouthpiece attached to a spirometer device to identify false or inaccurate data analysis caused from an unsanitary or infected sensor. The sensor is important in measuring total lung volume expiration, and several factors can contribute to unreliable data output including particulate oral fluids, like saliva and/or residual mucus, and handling overuse absent of proper disinfection between uses to provide reliable data output.

WorkplaceTesting explains Sensor Contamination

In spirometry, sensor contamination testing involves using a fixed or disposable sensor housed inside a mouthpiece connecting to a spirometer device to identify erroneous results.

During a forced expiration procedure, a patient is instructed to blow through the necessary mouthpiece, while the spirometer calculates metrical findings in correlation to a standard airflow rate. However, particulate body fluids like saliva, mucus, or any type of pulmonary discharge can greatly increase resistance inside the tube, which can impede a natural exhalation from otherwise healthy lungs.

This inferred discrepancy between the benchmark value for normal expiratory airflow and the compromised testing value can be prevented with bacterial/viral filter (BVF) attached to the mouthpiece reducing the risk of cross-contamination from pulmonary waste and/or oral secretions, while doubling to protect the integrity of the sensor for appropriate medical usage.

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