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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 137; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020137

Electrosurgical Smoke: Ultrafine Particle Measurements and Work Environment Quality in Different Operating Theatres

1
Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Energia, via Lambruschini, 4, 20156 Milan, Italy
2
Civil and Environmental Engineering/Building Services Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-41296 Gothenburg, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 13 January 2017 / Published: 30 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Abstract

Air cleanliness in operating theatres (OTs) is an important factor for preserving the health of both the patient and the medical staff. Particle contamination in OTs depends mainly on the surgery process, ventilation principle, personnel clothing systems and working routines. In many open surgical operations, electrosurgical tools (ESTs) are used for tissue cauterization. ESTs generate a significant airborne contamination, as surgical smoke. Surgical smoke is a work environment quality problem. Ordinary surgical masks and OT ventilation systems are inadequate to control this problem. This research work is based on numerous monitoring campaigns of ultrafine particle concentrations in OTs, equipped with upward displacement ventilation or with a downward unidirectional airflow system. Measurements performed during ten real surgeries highlight that the use of ESTs generates a quite sharp and relevant increase of particle concentration in the surgical area as well within the entire OT area. The measured contamination level in the OTs are linked to surgical operation, ventilation principle, and ESTs used. A better knowledge of airborne contamination is crucial for limiting the personnel’s exposure to surgical smoke. Research results highlight that downward unidirectional OTs can give better conditions for adequate ventilation and contaminant removal performances than OTs equipped with upward displacement ventilation systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: operating theatre; electrosurgical tool; surgical smoke; ultrafine particles; work environment quality; ventilation principles operating theatre; electrosurgical tool; surgical smoke; ultrafine particles; work environment quality; ventilation principles
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Romano, F.; Gustén, J.; De Antonellis, S.; Joppolo, C.M. Electrosurgical Smoke: Ultrafine Particle Measurements and Work Environment Quality in Different Operating Theatres. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 137.

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