Laminar flow ventilation system to prevent airborne infection during exercise in the COVID-19 crisis: A single-center observational study

Yoshinori Katsumata, Motoaki Sano, Hiroki Okawara, Tomonori Sawada, Daisuke Nakashima, Genki Ichihara, Keiichi Fukuda, Kazuki Sato, Eiji Kobayashi

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Particulate generation occurs during exercise-induced exhalation, and research on this topic is scarce. Moreover, infection-control measures are inadequately implemented to avoid particulate generation. A laminar airflow ventilation system (LFVS) was developed to remove respiratory droplets released during treadmill exercise. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between the number of aerosols during training on a treadmill and exercise intensity and to elucidate the effect of the LFVS on aerosol removal during anaerobic exercise. In this single-center observational study, the exercise tests were performed on a treadmill at Running Science Lab in Japan on 20 healthy subjects (age: 29±12 years, men: 80%). The subjects had a broad spectrum of aerobic capacities and fitness levels, including athletes, and had no comorbidities. All of them received no medication. The exercise intensity was increased by 1-km/h increments until the heart rate reached 85% of the expected maximum rate and then maintained for 10 min. The first 10 subjects were analyzed to examine whether exercise increased the concentration of airborne particulates in the exhaled air. For the remaining 10 subjects, the LFVS was activated during constant-load exercise to compare the number of respiratory droplets before and after LFVS use. During exercise, a steady amount of particulates before the lactate threshold (LT) was followed by a significant and gradual increase in respiratory droplets after the LT, particularly during anaerobic exercise. Furthermore, respiratory droplets ≥0.3 μm significantly decreased after using LFVS (2120800±759700 vs. 560 ± 170, p<0.001). The amount of respiratory droplets significantly increased after LT. The LFVS enabled a significant decrease in respiratory droplets during anaerobic exercise in healthy subjects. This study's findings will aid in exercising safely during this pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0257549
JournalPloS one
Issue number11 November
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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