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04. mayo 2018

Clean air will reduce infection risk in operating theatres

Airborne particles in ORs can pose a risk to patients, so we work hard to control air cleanliness in operating theatres.

No one wants to come out of a hospital to be sicker than when he went in. That is why we put such stress on minimising hospital-acquired infections. The operating room is of significant interest because there a patient is particularly vulnerable.

Healthcare staff are excellent at sterilising their environment and equipment, but they are also the main source of airborne impurities. Skin flakes and other particles from the staff – or even from the patient himself – can land in the wound area, increasing the risk for infection.

This was in our minds when Halton and Merivaara teamed up for the Q-Flow surgical light. Merivaara is an expert in OR equipment, and Halton is an expert on OR ventilation, so it was a perfect match.

Keeping it clean with the Q-Flow

Operating room ventilation systems normally deliver clean air from above. The air flows down and away, carrying particles to the exhaust and filters. Yet a large surgical light can act like the rear wing on a Formula One car, causing an area of turbulence.

“The air flow from above hits the lamp and creates an area of low pressure just below the lamp, which pulls particles right over the patient. We designed the Q-Flow as concentric circles of lights with open areas in between, allowing the air to flow through the lamp and thus avoid this unwanted effect”, says Jyrki Nieminen, Merivaara’s R&D Director.

It was great to work with Halton on developing this state-of-the-art lighting solution which ensures a safer operating environment. Using advanced CFD simulations we came up with an optimal design, and real-world use of the Q-Flow has confirmed it, continues Nieminen.

Different theatres; different needs

When we considered an OR we have two main goals for the ventilation system. We want to create good conditions for the patient and personnel, so we work to minimise the nuisance of drafts and noise as well as maintain comfortable temperatures. The second major goal is to minimise the risk of airborne particles which could increase the risk of infections.

Halton’s Vita OR Space airflow systems for operating rooms are designed to create an ultraclean operating environment which can be used for high-risk operations. The filter systems remove 99.995 per cent of even the smallest airborne particles.

Different operating theatres, or even different patient procedures, have varying needs. Clean airflow can be provided for the entire operating space, a defined zone using the traditional laminar flow principal, or perhaps a small cell such as a wound area or instrument table. Although needs differ the goal is always the same: to minimise the risk of airborne particles which could contribute to infections.

Inoroom: a complete solution

When you combine Merivaara’s systems and fixtures with Halton’s ventilation solutions, as well as add in Hermetel’s clean rooms, you come up with an innovative operating theatre solution which we call Inoroom.

We have already delivered these Inoroom turnkey solutions to customers, who appreciate using one supplier to get their full OR up and running. The Inoroom delivery consists of cleanroom structures, ventilation and electrical systems, and also the Open OR management system which includes smart controls. Planning, installation, system validation and user training are naturally included.

Our partnership to provide the best OR solutions and minimise the risk of infections caused by airborne particles is already up and running, and I look forward to our continued work together in the future. If you are interested in learning more how we can help reduce the risk of infection in operating theatres, please give us a call.

More information: 

Jyrki Nieminen, R&D Director, Merivaara Corp.
Tel. +358 40 849 9755
Email: jyrki.nieminen@merivaara.com


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