Reducing the risk of viral contamination during the coronavirus pandemic by using a protective curtain in the operating room
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionPatient Safety in Surgery. 2022, 16 . 10.1186/s13037-022-00332-x
Background Airborne transmission diseases can transfer long and short distances via sneezing, coughing, and breathing. These airborne repertory particles can convert to aerosol particles and travel with airflow. During the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many surgeries have been delayed, increasing the demand for establishing a clean environment for both patient and surgical team in the operating room. Methods This study aims to investigate the hypothesis of implementing a protective curtain to reduce the transmission of infectious contamination in the surgical microenvironment of an operating room. In this regard, the spread of an airborne transmission disease from the patient was evaluated, consequently, the exposure level of the surgical team. In the first part of this study, a mock surgical experiment was established in the operating room of an academic medical center in Norway. In the second part, the computational fluid dynamic technique was performed to investigate the spread of airborne infectious diseases. Furthermore, the field measurement was used to validate the numerical model and guarantee the accuracy of the applied numerical models. Results The results showed that the airborne infectious agents reached the breathing zone of the surgeons. However, using a protective curtain to separate the microenvironment between the head and lower body of the patient resulted in a 75% reduction in the spread of the virus to the breathing zone of the surgeons. The experimental results showed a surface temperature of 40 ˚C, which was about a 20 ˚C increase in temperature, at the wound area using a high intensity of the LED surgical lamps. Consequently, this temperature increase can raise the patient's thermal injury risk. Conclusion The novel method of using a protective curtain can increase the safety of the surgical team during the surgery with a COVID-19 patient in the operating room.