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May 10, 2023

Taking Patient Safety to the Next Level: University of Rochester Selects Opragon Ventilation System for New Ambulatory Surgical Center

Novel operating room ventilation system provides superior protection for patients and personnel from airborne infection. Surgical personnel report more comfortable working conditions.

LUND, SWEDEN¬†‚Äst9th¬†May, 2023¬†‚ÄstResidents of the greater Rochester area now have access to one of the most advanced ambulatory surgical centers in the country. The University of Rochester Medical Center facility was designed with the highest level of safety and comfort in mind. It is the first healthcare system in the U.S. to employ the Opragon,¬†a novel operating room ventilation system.

This year, in the U.S, over 110,000 patients will contract a surgical site infection (SSI), 3% of whom will die from the infection. SSI‚Äôs, which are largely preventable, cost the U.S. $3.3 billion annually.

Over 60 years of evidence correlates the contribution of contaminated operating room air to SSI. Ventilation systems are the first line of defense in protecting patients from this risk. In a retrospective analysis of hip and knee total joint procedures, the Opragon was shown to reduce surgical site infection from 3.3% to 1.1%.

The Opragon was designed to improve upon the performance of conventional operating room ventilation by bringing the superior safety and comfort of industrial clean room technology to the operating room. Unlike conventional ventilation, which provides a limited zone of clean air around the operating table only, the Opragon maintains an ultraclean level of air quality throughout the entire room for the duration of the procedure. Having a clean room, rather than a limited clean zone, is critical to maintaining the safety of previously sterilized items such as instruments and implants which are often opened and staged outside of the surgical field.

According to Mark Schwartz, CHFM, CHC, Director of University Facilities and Operations for URMC: 

‚ÄúThe surgeons have a strong preference for this room as it is one of the quietest and most comfortable OR‚Äôs they have worked in. Before final HEPA certification, we pre-tested each room. Our independent certification process showed the Opragon room was equal to an ISO 5 clean room without performing any terminal cleaning or requiring the staff to wear protective clothing. This is a testament to the physics of design in the Opragon ultra-clean delivery system.‚ÄĚ

Where conventional ventilation uses fans to blow air into the room, the Opragon relies on Temperature-controlled Air Flow (TcAF), a patented technology which utilizes a combination of a temperature differential and gravity to gently release HEPA filtered air into the room. TcAF produces a more reliable and robust downward flow of air which is what enables the Opragon to produce and maintain ultra-clean air quality conditions (<10CFU/m3 ) throughout today’s larger, more highly equipped and more active operating rooms. By more effectively controlling the direction and velocity of the air, the Opragon provides a higher level of protection from harmful pathogens for both patients and surgical personnel. Because of its design, the system is quieter than conventional ventilation and produces fewer cold drafts making it a more comfortable working environment.

The Opragon has been installed in over 300 operating rooms mainly throughout Northern Europe and is now available in the U.S. Performance has been independently validated in both Europe and the U.S. and the system has been tested in over 700 microbial measurement events undertaken during live surgical procedures.

The Opragon is designed and manufactured by Avidicare AB a medical technology company with a focus on infection prevention. The company’s mission is to provide state-of-the-art protection from airborne microbial contamination in the healthcare environment. Avidicare is based in Lund, Sweden with U.S. headquarters in Rochester (NY).