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J Hosp Infect. 2010 Nov;76(3):243-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2010.05.016. Epub 2010 Sep 16.

Assessment of horizontal laminar air flow instrument table for additional ultraclean space during surgery.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Umeå University, S-901 85 Umeå, Sweden.


The area in a vertical ultraclean laminar air flow (LAF) theatre is usually too small to accommodate all the equipment needed for major surgery. We investigated the addition of an instrument table supplied with fixed ultraclean LAF and placed alongside the existing main LAF unit, to determine its physical and bacteriological effect on the main unit. In phase 1, with two investigators but without a patient, smoke tests showed no intrusion of air from the table into the main unit and particle counts did not show any adverse effect on the main LAF unit. In phase 2, during patients undergoing two total knee replacements, the LAF table and a table without LAF were placed alongside the main LAF unit. The tables were subjected to the activity of an extra operating room (OR) nurse working from inside the main LAF vigorously simulating handling of instruments. During this activity, the >5μm particle counts were 275/m(3) at the instrument table with LAF and 8550/m(3) at the table without LAF (P<0.0001). Also, without the OR nurse activity, the particle counts, just inside the main unit and adjacent to the LAF table, were significantly reduced (P<0.03-0.003). Sedimentation plates on the LAF table and in the main unit registered 22 and 25cfu/m(2)/h respectively compared with 45cfu/m(2)/h at the instrument table without LAF. In conclusion, the results from the smoke tests, particle counts and bacteriological evaluation showed that the additional instrument table supplied with LAF is efficient and can be safely used as an extension additional to a main OR LAF unit.

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