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Numerical simulation of the impact of surgeon posture on airborne particle distribution in a turbulent mixing operating theatre
Division of Fluid and Climate Technology, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Energy Performance, Indoor Environment and Sustainability of Buildings, Danish Building Research Institute, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Department of Energy Performance, Indoor Environment and Sustainability of Buildings, Danish Building Research Institute, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Energy system.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9392-424x
Skanska AB, Stockholm, Sweden.
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2016 (English)In: Building and Environment, ISSN 0360-1323, E-ISSN 1873-684X, Vol. 110, 140-147 p.Article in journal, Editorial material (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Airborne particles released from surgical team members are major sources of surgical site infections. To reduce the risk of such infections, ultraclean-zoned ventilation systems have been widely applied, as a complement to the ventilation of the main operating theatre. The function of ventilation in an operating theatre is usually determined without considering the influence of the staff members’ posture and movements. The question of whether the surgeon's posture during an on-going operation will influence particle distribution within the surgical area has not yet been explored in depth or well documented. In the present study we analysed data from investigation of two positions (bending and straightened up), which represent the most common surgeon and staff-member postures. The investigation was performed by applying the computational fluid dynamics methodology to solve the governing equations for airflow and airborne particle dispersion. Ultraclean-zoned ventilation systems were examined as an addition to the conventional operating theatre. We examined three distinct source strengths (mean value of pathogens emitted from one person per second) due to the variety of staff clothing systems. In the upright posture, the screen units reduced the mean air counts of bacteria and the mean counts of sedimenting bacteria to a standard level for infection-prone surgeries in the surgical area. However, the performance of this system could be reduced drastically by improper work experience. Surgical garments with a high protective capacity result in lower source strength and thus reduces the particle concentration within the surgical area. These results are useful for developing best practices to prevent or at least reduce the infection rate during a surgical intervention.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 110, 140-147 p.
Keyword [en]
Bacteria-carrying particles; CFD simulation; Clothing system; Colony-forming unit; Mobile ultraclean zonal-laminar airflow screen; Operating theatre; Ventilation system
National Category
Mechanical Engineering Medical Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-22648DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2016.10.005ISI: 000388052500013ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84992209616OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-22648DiVA: diva2:1039286
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2014-1492-28222-29
Available from: 2016-10-22 Created: 2016-10-22 Last updated: 2017-01-09Bibliographically approved

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