Operating room teams should stay put more often, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University.
Researchers secretly tracked both the number and length of door openings during 191 knee and hip surgeries over a three month period at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
Ventilation systems are designed to maintain elevated air pressure in the OR to force air out of the room and prevent airborne contaminants from entering. Excessive doors opening could potentially jeopardize operating room sterility, according to the study.
Previous studies have documented that excessive OR traffic is a common problem, but is one that could easily be modified to reduce risk.
“Undoubtedly, a handful of door openings during surgery are necessary and unavoidable,” said study senior author Dr. Stephen Belkoff, director of the International Center for Orthopaedic Advancement. “What we ought to figure out next is what’s causing the unnecessary and avoidable ones.”
Beyond potential contamination from airflow excessive foot traffic could suggest distraction among OR staff or simply logistical or personnel management inefficiencies, according to researchers.
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