Environmental control: operating room air quality

Todays OR Nurse. Sep-Oct 1993;15(5):11-8.


1. OR staff members should familiarize themselves with basic air handling system terminology to better manage their own environment (eg, HVAC, air changes, air balancing, HEPA filtration). A working relationship with building engineers is an important skill for the OR nurse. 2. Knowledge of the standards on which air quality in the OR is based should assist in the process of planning for improved design--as well as in monitoring existing air quality. 3. Current standards balance energy savings with air changes and high levels of filtration to achieve optimum outcomes. Recommendations from design and engineering authorities (even for implant surgery) are based on average air changes and HEPA filtration, not laminar air flow. 4. The daily, operational role of the OR staff in maintaining high air quality includes managing traffic, using low-lint barrier materials, monitoring air quality indicators, and investigating unusual variances with the engineering staff for appropriate follow-up (eg, filter changes).

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Operating Rooms / standards*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control