A review of the risks and disease transmission associated with aerosol generating medical procedures

Anna Davies, Gail Thomson, Jimmy Walker*, Allan Bennett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Several medical procedures, including bronchoscopy, intubation, and non-invasive ventilation, frequently used in the treatment or diagnosis of respiratory diseases, have been identified as potentially 'aerosol generating'. It is thought that the nature of the 'aerosol generating' procedure ('AGP') results in an infectious aerosol beyond that which would normally be released by a patient coughing, breathing, or talking, presenting an increased risk to any healthcare worker in proximity to the patient. Smoke models on dummies have provided a visual image of possible aerosol behaviour and indicate a possible zone of transmission. However, they are not necessarily representative of the behaviour of a respiratory aerosol and any infectious particles contained therein. No quantitative study has yet been carried out on AGPs. Bronchoscopy and sputum induction have been associated with nosocomial transmission of tuberculosis, and guidelines have been produced describing the appropriate ventilation, isolation and respiratory protection that should be applied when carrying out such procedures. The uncertainty surrounding AGPs makes it difficult to construct effective infection control policy. The protection of healthcare workers is paramount. However, during a pandemic, resources may be stretched. Therefore it is important to clarify whether these procedures do generate aerosols.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-126
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Infection Prevention
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • Aerosol-generating procedures
  • Aerosols
  • Healthcare workers
  • Infectious diseases
  • SARS


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