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OR doors open approximately 13.4 times per hour during surgery, raising air particulate counts

Assessment of operating room airflow using air particle counts and direct observation of door openings

Jonathan Teter, MS, CIC, Isabella Guajardo, BA, Tamrah Al-Rammah, MD, Gedge Rosson, MD, Trish M. Perl, MD, MSc, Michele Manahan, MD

Key Words:

Infection controlSurgeryParticulate matterAir qualityOperating roomSurgical site infection

A study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, examined operating room airflow, which can increase contamination risks during surgery.

Over the span of one week, researchers measured air particulate counts in five-minute intervals and healthcare workers' movements. They also recorded OR traffic, door openings, job title of the opener and the reason for opening.

The researchers found that there were 13.4 door openings per hour during OR cases. The rate of door opening ranged from 0.19 to 0.28 per minute.

Researchers recorded a total of 660 air measurements. The air particulate counts were 9,238 particles at baseline and 14,292 particles during surgery. The air particulate counts increased by 13 percent when a door was open.

"We observed numerous instances of verbal communication and equipment movement. Improving efficiency of communication and equipment can aid in reduction of traffic," study authors concluded.

www.ajicjournal.org

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