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Hermann-Rietschel-InstitutEnEff: OP-Luft


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EnEff: OP-Luft

Project details
Project term
March 2017 to February 2020
Funding code
Project management
Valeria Hofer

According to DIN 1946-4:2018-09, ultraclean operating rooms (ORs) of type Ia have a supply air ceiling with an area of around 10 m² and an air flow rate of approx.  11,000 m³/h. Despite the high energy demand of around 30 MWh/a per operating theatre for air transport and air conditioning, these ORs with Laminar Air Flow (LAF) show a decreased protective effect during real operations when geometric obstacles and heat sources are present in the airflow above the operating or instrument table. This may increase the risk of wound contamination. Approximately 16.2 million operating procedures are carried out in Germany every year. About 225,000 cases of postoperative wound infections occur (1.9%) as a result of these operating procedures.

To increase the patient’s health and the protection of the personnel against surgical smoke, a three-year research project on energy-efficient ventilation in multifunctional operating theatres is carried out at our institute. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Supported by the Robert-Koch-Institut (RKI) and the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin innovative ventilation design methods will be developed and investigated on their limitations.

The aim of the project is the development of integral protection concepts in operating theatres. Systematic pathogen potentials for airborne microbial contaminants, their emission and propagation characteristics and pathways of their distribution are investigated. Concepts for contamination control, based on detailed analysis of the boundary conditions and workflow schemes, are developed . The goals are to minimize the risk of postoperative wound infections by minimizing the deposition rate of pathogens to the wound field, to improve occupational health and safety for the operating personnel as well as to minimize energy requirements.

In order to carry out the experimental investigations, the Hermann-Rietschel-Institut has set up a modular research OR with modern equipment and several supply air systems, particle and contamination measurement technology. The real conditions in operating theatres can thus be reproduced in detail. The combination of variably adjustable flow shape and realistic surgical equipment  offers unique possibilities for the investigation of contamination mechanisms and protective effects.

Discover and discuss questions and results from this project in our research blog! This blog shall help to transfer the results from research to practice.




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