BACKGROUND: Preventing surgical site infections and prosthetic joint infections is crucial for patient safety after total joint arthroplasty. Microbial air contamination has been suggested as a risk factor. Therefore, the ventilation system that will reduce air contamination most effectively in operating theatres (OTs) has been discussed.
AIM: To determine whether laminar airflow (LAF) ventilation is superior to turbulent airflow (TAF) ventilation by looking at the colony forming units (cfu) count during live total hip and knee arthroplasties. Furthermore, to explore whether the number of OT personnel, door and cabinet lock openings and technical parameters of the ventilation systems have an impact on the number of cfu.
METHODS: Active air sampling and passive sedimented bacterial load were performed in 17 OTs, equipped with either LAF or TAF ventilation, during 51 live surgeries while observations were noted.
FINDINGS: LAF OTs reduced cfu counts compared with TAF OTs during live surgery (P<0.001). All LAF OTs provided ultraclean air whereas TAF had nine procedures exceeding the threshold of 10 cfu/m 3. Door and cabinet lock openings and number of personnel did not influence the cfu count, while it decreased with increasing volume and total air change per hour (P<0.05).
CONCLUSION: All LAF OTs had cfu counts within recommendations and provided lower cfu counts compared with TAF OTs. The number of OT personnel and total openings did not have an influence on cfu counts. Increased volume of the OT and total air change per hour showed a decrease in active cfu counts.