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Webinar Examines Forced Air Contamination

Victor R. Lange

Victor R. Lange

The recent OR Today webinar “Forced Air Contamination Risk in the OR” was sponsored by Encompass and eligible for 1 CE credit. OR Today has been approved and is licensed to be a Continuing Education Provider with the California Board of Registered Nurses, License #16623.

Presenter Victor R. Lange, Ph.D., JD, MSPH, ICP, CRC, CRA, is a healthcare epidemiologist and clinical research expert, as well as director of quality/risk management/infection prevention at AHMC-Greater El Monte. Respected for his research and leadership in the field of infection prevention, presenting and publishing nationally on the subject. Lange possesses legal and regulatory standard expertise and conducts ongoing surveillance, documentation, and investigation of hospital-acquired infections. He has implemented numerous clinical education programs, providing staff with essential knowledge and skills on infection prevention, ultimately improving both healthcare worker and patient safety.

The 60-minute webinar helped attendees understand the infection and cross-contamination risk associated with use of forced-air warming on patients in the operating room. Lange described a data correlation between forced-air warming device components and airborne contamination. He also discussed direct how webinar attendees can contribute to improved facility risk review and improved patient-warming and infection-prevention protocols. The presenter will introduce a background on patient-warming benefits, provide a literature recap of forced-air warming risk, review study objectives, methods, study results and conclusions.

The webinar also included a question-and-answer session. One attendee asked, “Would you please talk a bit more about the CFU level, is 10,000 CFU, OK?”

“So, we did determine that — based on all the literature, the studies, the scientific evidence — anywhere from 10,000 CFU or less, this is sufficient,” Lange said to start his answer.

Another attendee asked, “Forced air warming is used in most hospital ORs, does the study indicate that certain pathogens are able to get through the filter?”

Lange said that was a very good question. In terms of Heffer filtration itself, HIPAA filters are, for the most part, approximately effective. He noted that it is important to use the correct filter and to change the filter and pre-filter often.

He also answered a question about the ability to track infections that may have developed in these types of surgeries and other questions.

The webinar was well attended with 92 individuals tuning in for the live presentation. An on-demand version is available for others to view.

Attendees provided feedback in a survey.

“Thank you for opening up an entire new avenue for infection prevention to explore related to preventing surgical site infections. Who knew to look inside the hose of the patient warmers and the connections? I am afraid to look but will be sure to communicate this potential risk with my OR team and environmental services team members. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be proactive, that is why it is called infection prevention,” Director of Infection Prevention K. Mulholland said.

“These webinars are always full of relevant information that is pertinent to today’s OR,” said D. Pullman, CRNFA.

“Very interesting and informative presentation,” Clinical RN Educator A. Gatto said.

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