The paired robot-like devices, each about the size of a washing machine and weighing nearly 60 pounds, as well as supplies used in the study, were provided by their manufacturer, Bioquell Inc. of Horsham, Pa.
After the room has been cleaned, the vents are covered and the two devices are placed inside. The sliding door is closed, and the room is sealed. Then, the larger of the two devices disperses hydrogen peroxide into the room, leaving a very tiny, almost invisible layer (only 2 microns to 6 microns in thickness) on all exposed surfaces, including keyboards and monitors, as well as tables and chairs.
Because hydrogen peroxide can be toxic to humans if ingested or corrosive if left on the skin for too long, the second, smaller device is activated to break down the bleach into its component water and oxygen parts. The combined operation takes the devices about an hour and a half to complete.
"What is so exciting about this new method of infection control is that the devices are easy to use and hospital staff embrace it very quickly," says surgeon and study co-investigator Pamela Lipsett, M.D., M.H.P.E. Lipsett, a professor and director of surgical and critical care fellowship training at Johns Hopkins, says that during the study and before room cleanings, staff were "wheeling in" other pieces of equipment so these, too, could be decontaminated by the hydrogen peroxide vapor.
As a result of the study and the researchers' recommendation, JHH has purchased two of the Bioquell decontaminating units, which cost more than $40,000 per pair. The devices, already in use at some 20 other hospitals across the country, will be used at Johns Hopkins to decontaminate rooms typically housing high-risk patients under strict isolation precautions because of severe infection with a multiple-drug-resistant organism.
Researchers say they next plan to study the devices' effectiveness at decontaminat
|Contact: David March|
Johns Hopkins Medicine