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A new protocol that describes precautions surgeons should take when operating on suspected or confirmed Ebola patients includes an Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) standard on surgical gowns and drapes.
The protocol was developed and released by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and recommends that surgeons and healthcare workers wear “AAMI Level 4” surgical gowns and drapes when operating on these patients, according to an Oct. 8 article in The Washington Post. The protocol adapts relevant recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and applies them to the operating room (OR) environment.
Part of the protocol comes from ANSI/AAMI PB70:2012, Liquid barrier performance and classification of protective apparel and drapes intended for use in healthcare facilities. The document is intended to guide healthcare professionals in making informed decisions when selecting appropriate clothing for a given task.
As The Post article notes, many physicians in West African countries are scared about performing operations on patients, even in emergency situations. Employing personal protective gear, including these gowns, can go a long way to ensuring the safety and health of OR personnel. Other ACS recommendations include having leg coverings with a full plastic film coating over the fabric, full face shield, mask, double gloves and a surgical hood.
The protocol has been circulated among groups representing surgeons in Africa, according to The Post.
In 2012, AAMI updated its standard PB70 to help ensure that substandard gowns and drapes would not wind up in the OR. It identified four levels of gowns and drapes, with Level 4 being able to resist liquid and viral penetration in a stringent laboratory test. A big change in the 2012 edition focused on the acceptance criteria for a product lot. The standard added a rejectable quality level to help determine if the test results are acceptable and if the product can be released.
More details about ANSI/AAMI PB70 are available at the AAMI Store.