Forced-air warming: a source of airborne contamination in the operating room?

David Leaper, Mark Albrecht, Robert Gauthier
  • Mark Albrecht
    Affiliation not present
  • Robert Gauthier
    Affiliation not present

Abstract

Forced-air-warming (FAW) is an effective and widely used means for maintaining surgical normothermia, but FAW also has the potential to generate and mobilize airborne contamination in the operating room. We measured the emission of viable and non-viable forms of airborne contamination from an arbitrary selection of FAW blowers (n=25) in the operating room. A laser particle counter measured particulate concentrations of the air near the intake filter and in the distal hose airstream. Filtration efficiency was calculated as the reduction in particulate concentration in the distal hose airstream relative to that of the intake. Microbial colonization of the FAW blower’s internal hose surfaces was assessed by culturing the microorganisms recovered through swabbing (n=17) and rinsing (n=9) techniques. Particle counting revealed that 24% of FAW blowers were emitting significant levels of internally generated airborne contamination in the 0.5 to 5.0 mm size range, evidenced by a steep decrease in FAW blower filtration efficiency for particles 0.5 to 5.0 mm in size. The particle size-range-specific reduction in efficiency could not be explained by the filtration properties of the intake filter. Instead, the reduction was found to be caused by size-range-specific particle generation within the FAW blowers. Microorganisms were detected on the internal air path surfaces of 94% of FAW blowers. The design of FAW blowers was found to be questionable for preventing the build-up of internal contamination and the emission of airborne contamination into the operating room. Although we did not evaluate the link between FAW and surgical site infection rates, a significant percentage of FAW blowers with positive microbial cultures were emitting internally generated airborne contamination within the size range of free floating bacteria and fungi (<4 mm) that could, conceivably, settle onto the surgical site.

Keywords

Forced-Air Warming

Full Text:

PDF
HTML
Submitted: 2009-09-11 12:28:39
Published: 2009-12-03 09:36:11
Search for citations in Google Scholar
Related articles: Google Scholar
Abstract views:
709

Views:
PDF
223
HTML
3060

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


Copyright (c) 2009 David Leaper, Mark Albrecht, Robert Gauthier

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
 
© PAGEPress 2008-2017     -     PAGEPress is a registered trademark property of PAGEPress srl, Italy.     -     VAT: IT02125780185