Background: Understanding the protective potential of operating room (OR) ventilation under different conditions is crucial to optimizing the surgical environment. This study investigated the air quality, expressed as colony-forming units (CFU)/m(3), during orthopedic trauma surgery in a displacement-ventilated OR; explored how traffic flow and the number of persons present in the OR affects the air contamination rate in the vicinity of surgical wounds; and identified reasons for door openings in the OR.
Methods: Data collection, consisting of active air sampling and observations, was performed during 30 orthopedic procedures.
Results: In 52 of the 91 air samples collected (57%), the CFU/m(3) values exceeded the recommended level of <10 CFU/m(3). In addition, the data showed a strongly positive correlation between the total CFU/m(3) per operation and total traffic flow per operation (r = 0.74; P = .001; n = 24), after controlling for duration of surgery. A weaker, yet still positive correlation between CFU/m(3) and the number of persons present in the OR (r = 0.22; P = .04; n = 82) was also found. Traffic flow, number of persons present, and duration of surgery explained 68% of the variance in total CFU/m(3) (P = .001).
Conclusions: Traffic flow has a strong negative impact on the OR environment. The results of this study support interventions aimed at preventing surgical site infections by reducing traffic flow in the OR.
Copyright © 2012 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.