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Pilot study reinforces use of portable anteroom HEPA filtration
Date:5/6/2008

Washington, DC, May 6, 2008 Amidst an increase in new tuberculosis cases, researchers have begun investigating the effectiveness of new operating room filtration systems designed to protect staff and patients. According to pilot study findings published in the May issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, a supplemental portable anteroom high-efficiency particulate air (PAS- HEPA) filter unit placed outside operating room suites may prevent secondary transmission of airborne microorganisms like Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis).

The rate of decline in newly reported tuberculosis cases in the U.S. has slowed, said lead study investigator Russell N. Olmsted, MPH, CIC, epidemiologist from Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI. This, coupled with the worldwide emergence of even more drug-resistant tuberculosis, reinforces the need for renewed vigilance and surveillance from healthcare professionals. In particular, study results reinforce the need for measures to optimize air particle removal.

Olmsted and colleagues compared the efficiency of freestanding HEPA filtration units to a new portable anteroom system (PAS)-HEPA combination unit in removing harmful airborne infectious pathogens. Freestanding HEPA units were evaluated in the operating room, while the PAS-HEPA unit was placed outside over the main operating room door. Both smoke plume and non-infectious particles similar in size to M. tuberculosis were used to mimic movement of airborne pathogens within highly pressured environments.

We observed interruption of normal patterns of airflow with freestanding HEPA units placed inside the operating room, said Olmsted, adding that instead of being captured by the air-filtration system, smoke plume traveled upward from the operating room table and into the breathing zone of personnel who might be present during a typical surgical procedure.

This suggests an increased potential for occupational exposur
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Contact: Liz Garman
egarman@apic.org
202-454-2604
Association for Professionals in Infection Control
Source:Eurekalert

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