Comparison of ventilation systems in operating rooms

Whyte, W. and Shaw, B. (1974) Comparison of ventilation systems in operating rooms. Bulletin de la societe internationale de chirurgie, 33(1), pp. 42-52. (PMID:4835672)

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A brief history is presented of the development of ventilation which has led to the reduction of the bacterial content of air in operating rooms and to the present day concept of ultra clean operating rooms. Results are presented of a bacteriological comparison between a downflow and a crossflow laminar flow system which shows the downflow system of air supply to be superior to the crossflow type at all velocities. The authors recommend an air speed of between 0.3 m/s and 0.4 m/s for such systems. A comparison of laminar flow with conventional ventilation shows that in terms of airborne bacterial particles at the wound the downflow and crossflow systems are 60 and 12 times superior than conventional ventilation respectively. It was also demonstrated that during major operations a downflow system, as far as airborne bacteria at the wound site is concerned, is 5 times better than the crossflow system at the same velocity. It should be pointed out however that use of clothing which is less impervious than conventional clothing will almost certainly reduce this difference. The downflow system has also the disadvantage of requiring four sides to contain the air. Use of the crossflow system is often more convenient and in general cheaper to construct and install. Conventional lighting and services may be also used without alterations. Engineering advances may, however, overcome these disadvantages of the downflow system in part at least and one system which removes the inconvenience of downflow laminar flow systems is the use of a partial wall extending down to head height. As with all systems at the present time advantages and disadvantages should be weighed up in context of the situation being considered and due consideration given to published design data. There is as yet little convincing evidence to demonstrate a reduction of sepsis due to the improved quality of air provided by ultra clean systems, improved ventilation being accompanied by other changes.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Whyte, Dr William
Authors: Whyte, W., and Shaw, B.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Journal Name:Bulletin de la societe internationale de chirurgie

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