Could a mannequin simplify rhinopharyngeal swab collectionin COVID 19 patients?


Rhinopharyngeal swab collection is used to test patients for COVID-19; unfortunately, the false negative rate is around 30% in symptomatic patients, and maybe even higher in asymptomatic ones. A correct swab collection is consequently critical. Swabs are usually performed by dedicated personnel, but at the present moment, the methods for its training are not standardized. In a Letter to the Editor recently published in the European Archives of Otorhinolaringology, Tagliabue et al. describe the training method used in their Institution: the personnel dedicated to swab collection increases its confidence with the procedure by observing endoscopic anatomy, while an otolaryngologist performs rigid endoscopy. Although we found this paper interesting, we think that the author’s proposal has timing and financial drawbacks that should be considered in daily activity, especially in an emergency period like the pandemic we are experiencing. In this Letter to the Editor, we discuss some pre-analytic and analytic issues that should be considered while performing rhinopharyngeal swabs, and we propose the use of a mannequin to train personnel, thus reducing the risk of infection for health workers, and patient’s discomfort.

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