Anesthesia Hygiene Challenge.

Following publications of studies about the transmission of pathogens in Anesthesia Environment, we decided to collect data on cleaning protocols and extent of contamination on anesthesia machines.

Currently anesthesia departments and hospitals follow standard guidelines to clean anesthesia carts in between cases. As per latest guidelines according to American Society of Anesthesiology anesthesia machine surface is considered non-critical and wiping in between surgical cases adequately suffices.

The problem is, this recommendation allows an arbitrary amount of time and effort to clean the surfaces of the anesthesia machines. We checked the protocols in different anesthesiology departments in the U.S.A. Some of the protocols could be found online, we visited some departments and institutions and we interviewed some anesthesiologists via telephone. Not surprisingly there is no standard for ensuring cleaning of the anesthesia machines.

If there is no existence of a cleaning standard, how unclean are the anesthesia machines, machines that are located in the operating room and sustain life under anesthesia during surgery. Could we use available technology to check cleanliness? Surface ATP measurements is a measure of biological material on a surface. They do not identify the bacteria or virus. This technology has been implemented in a wide array of industries where hygiene is very important like food manufacturing industry. In healthcare industry, Surface ATP is used to check cleanliness of patient rooms. The levels of Surface ATP in the environment has been validated in several studies.

We started the Anesthesia Hygiene Challenge. We measured Surface ATP to check the contamination levels on “CLEAN” anesthesia machines. Clean machines are the anesthesia machines that have been cleaned as per institutional protocol and are ready for patient use. To date we have conducted Anesthesia Hygiene Challenge in different Anesthesiology departments big and small across U.S.A. To pass the challenge, readings on the surfaces of Anesthesia Machines have to to lower than published and accepted levels. So far, there has not been a single Anesthesia machine that has passed the test. Worse, life preserving Clean Anesthesia Machines are more contaminated than Toilet Seats. Yes you read it right, Toilet Seats!!!

Can a sterile surgical procedures in an operating room be carried out in the midst of highly contaminated surroundings?

Contact us to improve your institution’s Anesthesia Hygiene.

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