People as a contamination source. Surgical clothing systems for operating rooms-a comparison between disposable non-woven and reusable mixed material systems.
The number of airborne bacteria-carrying in the operating room is considered an indicator of the risk of infections to the patients undergoing surgery susceptible to infections. Today when the supply air in the operating room is HEPA-filtered, the main source of airborne microorganisms is people (patient and personnel). The filtration efficacy of the fabric in operating clothing systems plays an important role. The design of the clothing system also affects the number of particles emitted from people to the air of the operating room. In operating rooms for surgery susceptible to infections, the selection of clothing systems for the operating personnel should no longer only be considered in terms of comfort but also in terms of patient safety.
Today clothing and clothing systems for cleanrooms and associated controlled rooms such as ultraclean operating rooms are mainly tested with regard to material properties, such as particle generation, particle filtration, resistance to wear and comfort. The dispersal chamber or "body-box" has been used for studying the protective efficacy of clothing systems in use. A modified dispersal chamber has been installed at Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg. Tests and comparative studies have been performed in the dispersal chamber on four selected clothing systems, three disposable of non-woven material and one reusable system of mixed (cotton/polyester) material.
The results show clearly that the clothing systems of disposable non-woven material have better protection efficiency than that of mixed material.