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Feb 02, 2021

New study concludes that surgical suites at hospitals in middle-income countries are in need of better ventilation and more resources

In a study published in January 2021 researchers identified that not only more resources, but specifically better ventilation and better infection prevention and control are crucial to reduce Surgical Site Infections in middle-income countries. The study was performed in Serbia, where patients underwent total hip- or knee arthroplasty. 5.4% of the patient who underwent a hip replacement respectively 4.8% of all knee arthroplasty patients were affected with an SSI.

Another finding in the study was that bacteria identified in the wounds were to a large extent resistant to antibiotics. This means less successful surgery, additional pain and more deaths. As in any country, antimicrobial resistance also hurts the national economy by making the healthcare system inefficient as the result of surgery degrades. This is unfortunately also true for treatment of basic ailments which may be in need for heavier measures with longer hospital stays and more expensive medicines.

When it comes to surgery, and especially infection sensitive procedures, science tells us that it is of utmost important to have an ultra-clean environment. As an example, when a patient is undergoing a total arthroplasty for a new hip or knee the risk of a post-operative infection is high. If a patient is affected by a deep wound infection the antibiotics become less effective, since the new joint lacks blood vessels that should have distributed the drug to the infected area. The risk of overuse of stronger and more broad-spectrum antibiotics to treat the infection is imminent, which in turn fuels that antibiotic resistance.

Instead, it is way more efficient to avoid infections from the beginning. Since it is well known that that less bacteria means less infections, it is reasonable to also reduce surgical site infections by removing as many bacteria as possible. Part of this is to ensure an ultra-clean operating suite, with large and safe work areas where both patient and staff are protected from airborne contamination with a robust ventilation systems that actually works during ongoing surgery.

Opragon is probably the only ventilation system specifically designed for the demands of the operating room. It shall be a cleanroom, but here staff is very active and the clothing systems have to suit the work and not enclose the staff in tight plastics. With Opragon, the air is pushed downwards by gravity to the floor to eliminate the risk of bacteria-carrying particles to whirl around in the air and end up in the wound or on the instrument tables. The system makes the whole operating room ultra-clean and its comfort for staff is proven by independent research. There is no need for ultra-tight clothing and no air chill.

A room equipped with Opragon is ultra-clean and reduces the risk of surgical site infections as well as transmission of other airborne infections, which protects both patients and staff. Considering its benefits and the current cost from higher levels of SSI than necessary, Opragon is a small yet valuable investment also for middle-income countries that want to improve its healthcare.