What should surgical professionals consider when purchasing fluid waste control products to ensure infection control and staff safety in the OR?
October 6, 2010
Suction is used in the OR not only for surgical field clearance but also airway management, blood salvage and tissue stabilization. Each of these clinical applications requires specific levels of suction for the greatest clinical efficacy.
A 2004 study (JAMA, Dec 22/29, Vol. 292 No. 24) postulated a link between an Acinetobacter outbreak and a change in protocol which eliminated suction canister changes between patients. A study published in 2010 (ICHE, 2010; 31(7):772-774) proposed a link between intermittent suction equipment and patient contamination. Suction systems present not only an infection control risk to the caregiver handling the waste but also the patients in fluidic connection with the suction system.
NFPA99 requires that greater than 20inHg(508mmHg) and 3SCFM (89lpm) must be available from each suction outlet. The static pressure and flow provided by a central suction system are not easily generated by portable suction sources. When multiple demands are made upon the suction system it is prudent to have dedicated sources for each clinical need. High airflow and static pressure ensure efficient removal of liquids and aerosols and lessen the possibility of backflow. Central suction has the added benefit of exhausting all of these aerosols far away from the surgical field without the need to filter and recirculate them.
When selecting waste control products it is important to ensure they provide the maximum flow available. Set components should be easily disposed of in-between patients. Equipment surfaces should be easily disinfected and patient fluidic connections should lend themselves to reprocessing via high-level disinfection or sterilization.