Until the middle of the 19th century, when Joseph Lister pioneered infection control by introducing antiseptic surgery, many patients survived surgery only to die from postoperative infection – or “ward fever” as it was known. Lister experimented with hand washing, sterilising instruments, spraying carbolic in the theatre while operating, and covering wounds with dressings soaked with carbolic acid, and infection rates fell dramatically.
Fast forward 150 or so years, and though we can now take it for granted that surgery will be performed under aseptic conditions, incidence of Surgical Site Infections (SSI) remain a problem, representing a substantial financial burden on our hospitals and obviously causing great distress to patients.
We breathe germs in and out all the time, and they usually do us little or no harm. However, an open wound can present the ideal place for germs to settle and breed, causing infection. The ultraclean ventilation (UCV) canopy is a proven and effective way to clean the air in operating theatres, supporting good working practices and operating theatre design, and dramatically reducing the risks of SSI. Originally developed in the UK for use during orthopaedic procedures, a UCV canopy is now a common sight in operating theatres. As surgery becomes ever more advanced, the relevance of ultraclean ventilation grows, developing far beyond the hip replacements for which its pioneering inventor, Professor Sir John Charnley, is famous.
At Medical Air Technology (MAT), we believe there are three key benefits to upgrading operating theatres to ultraclean:
- Adaptability – an ultraclean theatre can be used for a wider range of surgery, converting from general to ultraclean in under an hour, increasing the number and type of procedures each operating theatre can host.
- Reducing reliance on peri- and post-operative antibiotics – if surgery is carried out in ultraclean conditions, the air is virtually contaminant-free so the risk of SSI, and the antibiotics needed to treat it, is massively reduced.
- Flexibility – modern ultra clean ventilation canopies, particularly the new screenless models, integrate with the increasingly popular hybrid and integrated operating theatres, complementing the latest developments in operating theatre design and the movement towards equipping theatres with imaging equipment, lasers, endoscopy equipment, robotics etc.