Weekly tip: Keep up with your HVAC system to maintain a safe OR environment
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July 5, 2012
In the OR there are very specific requirements concerning temperature, humidity, and air exchanges-any of which can affect the safety of the patient environment during surgery.
- Relative humidity. According to AORN recommended practices, relative humidity in the OR should be between 30% and 60%.
- Temperature. The temperature of the OR should fall between 68° and 73°F, according to AORN recommended practices, but there are some instances where surgeons may want to go above that threshold. A patient who is at risk for hypothermia because he or she is nutritionally challenged, emaciated, or elderly may require higher temperatures.
- Air exchanges. AORN requires 15 air exchanges per hour to maintain a safe environment of care in the OR. The HVAC system should be routinely monitored to ensure it's working properly, but OR staff should also be reminded that this negative pressure is affected by continuously opening doors-or, even worse, propping open the doors to the surgical suite.
This tip was excerpted from the July issue of Briefings on Hospital Safety.