COVID-19, Aerosolization, and

the Impact on Diagnostic Plans for Patients Presenting with GI-Related Symptoms

The Aerosolization Dilemma:

As the world continues to adapt to COVID-19, more research has been published on how the virus is spread and how we should adapt our day-to-day lives to mitigate risk of exposure. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called attention to airborne transmission and the effects that aerosols play in spreading the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks” and also recommends “cloth face coverings as a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air.”

The Impact on Breath Testing:

Breath testing is the recommended diagnosis plan for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and Carbohydrate Malabsorption Disorders. Typical in-office testing requires a patient to breathe into a breathalyzer device multiple times over a 2-3 hour period. This device is utilized by multiple patients and requires a patient to wait in the office between testing samples. Ensuring that the device is properly disinfected may limit the number of patients that can test per day, causing longer wait times for diagnosis and treatment.

According to an article published by Harvard Medical School, infectious viral particles can remain in the air for up to three hours. This can cause patient scheduling delays and put others at-risk for contracting the virus.

For healthcare providers needing to test for GI-related issues presented by patients, an alternative to in-office breath testing must be considered due to the potential spread of COVID-19 through aerosolization.

The Breath Testing Solution:

At-home breath testing allows patients to take tests in the comfort of their own home, which eliminates the risk of exposure and exposing others. This alternative to in-office testing delivers a high-quality result to assist with the diagnosis and treatment of GI disorders. Also, at-home testing meets, or exceeds all requirements and guidelines to keep patients and healthcare staff safe.

Many of Commonwealth Diagnostics International’s (CDI) customers are pleased with having a diagnostic test that helps keep patients home and safe during the pandemic. “The potential aerosolization spread of COVID-19 makes breath testing in-office relatively unsafe, and we have been in a bit of a dilemma in our clinic during this pandemic. We are very happy that CDI exists,” explained a physician in a leading gastroenterology department.

Get started, with CDI’s at-home breath test kits today.