Theatre validation to HTM guidance

Clean and ultraclean air

In the healthcare sector, the principle of modern conventional theatre ventilation is to remove airborne contamination generated in the theatre and prevent the ingress of possibly contaminated air from the surrounding areas. This is achieved by actively supplying relatively clean air into the theatre faster than excess air can be passively removed.

With conventional systems, the air change rate in the operating theatre is approximately 25 times per hour. However, with ultraclean ventilation (UCV) systems, as specified in HTM 03-01 for orthopaedic surgery, this dilution is increased exponentially up to 500 times per hour due to the additional protection of local ceiling-mounted HEPA filtration canopies. These canopies are designed to remove 99.97% of particles above 0.3 micron in size.

Colony forming units (CFUs)

 Many viral, bacterial and fungal infections are spread via the airborne route. Any piece of dust or other debris larger than 0.5 micron is large enough for certain bacteria to hitch a ride and can become a carrier for infection. These are commonly known as bacteria carrying particles (BCP) or colony forming units (CFU).

The main source of airborne contamination in the operating theatre is human skin, shed by people in the theatre space.  During even modest activity, humans can shed around 10,000 CFUs every minute.

Hospital Theatre Validation to HTM Guidance
Preventing surgical site infection (SSI)

SSI is the name given to a healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) that occurs when a surgical incision site becomes infected after a surgical procedure. Surgical sites can be exposed to airborne bacteria, either directly into the wound or indirectly by CFUs settling onto surgical/operative instruments which will then, on use, transfer this contamination to the surgical site.

In Quality Standard 61, NICE estimates that 300,000 patients a year in England acquire a healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) as a result of care within the NHS. HCAI places a massive clinical and financial burden on the NHS, and is estimated to cost the NHS in excess of £1 billion each year. It leads to longer hospital stays, costly remedial surgery that puts extra pressure on already busy theatre lists, increased use of antibiotics, and untold distress for the patient and their family.

Hospital operating theatre validation from Rock Compliance helps to ensure that the operating theatre is a clean or ultraclean environment, thus minimising the risk of SSI.

HTM 03-01 Specialised ventilation for healthcare buildings

Clearly, the highest standards of microbiological cleanliness are absolutely vital in the operating theatre to ensure the safest possible environment for patients and clinicians.

Team Rock carries out validation in line with the recently updated HTM 03-01which contains specific and comprehensive guidelines for operating theatre validation to ensure risks of contamination are minimised.

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Whether it is an issue of compliance, an investment decision, or if you are just not sure whether your existing provider is giving you what you need, please contact us.

We will be happy to give you advice on how to create low risk, compliant air hygiene systems, ensuring spend is minimised and predictable.

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