Swedish Researchers Investigate Protective Capacity of Surgical Attire


To prevent surgical site infection it is desirable to keep bacterial counts low in the operating room air during orthopedic surgery, especially prosthetic surgery. As the airborne bacteria are mainly derived from the skin flora of the personnel present in the operating room a reduction could be achieved by using a clothing system for staff made from a material fulfilling the requirements in the standard EN 13795. The aim of a study by Tammelin, et al. (2012) was to compare the protective capacity between three clothing systems made of different materials one mixed cotton/polyester and two polyesters - which all had passed the tests according to EN 13795.

Measuring of CFU/m3 air was performed during 21 orthopedic procedures performed in four operating rooms with turbulent, mixing ventilation with air flows of 755 1,050 L/s. All staff in the operating room wore clothes made from the same material during each surgical procedure.

The source strength (mean value of CFU emitted from one person per second) calculated for the three garments were 4.1, 2.4 and 0.6 respectively. In an operating room with an air flow of 755 L/s both clothing systems made of polyester reduced the amount of CFU/m3 significantly compared to the clothing system made from mixed material. In an operating room with air intake of 1,050 L/s a significant reduction was only achieved with the polyester that had the lowest source strength.

The researchers concluded that polyester has a better protective capacity than cotton/polyester. They say there is need for more discriminating tests of the protective efficacy of textile materials intended to use for operating garment. Their research was published in Patient Safety in Surgery.  

Reference: Tammelin A, Ljungqvist B and Reinmüller B. Comparison of three distinct surgical clothing systems for protection from air-borne bacteria: A prospective observational study. Patient Safety in Surgery 2012, 6:23 doi:10.1186/1754-9493-6-23

Related Videos
Antimicrobial Resistance (Adobe Stock unknown)
Patient Safety: Infection Control Today's Trending Topic for March
Infection Control Today® (ICT®) talks with John Kimsey, vice president of processing optimization and customer success for Steris.
Picture at AORN’s International Surgical Conference & Expo 2024
An eye instrument holding an intraocular lens for cataract surgery. How to clean and sterilize it appropriately?   (Adobe Stock 417326809By Mohammed)
Association for the Health Care Environment (Logo used with permission)
Ambassador Deborah Birx, , speaks with Infection Control Today about masks in schools and the newest variant.
Photo of a model operating room. (Photo courtesy of Indigo-Clean and Kenall Manufacturing)
Washington, USA, US Treasury Department and Inspector General Office.    (Adobe Stock File 210945332 by Brian_Kinney)
Related Content