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Characterization of aerosols produced by surgical procedures.

Yeh C; Muggenburg BA; Lundgren DL; Turner RS; Guilmette RA; Snipes MB; Jones RK
Inhalation Toxicology Research Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Report No. ITRI-142, 1994 Jul; :1-584
Due to concern regarding inhalation exposure to blood borne pathogens during surgical procedures, the potential production of blood associated aerosols from surgeries conducted in the laboratory and hospital were investigated. A literature search was conducted to identify the power tools used during surgical procedures and to review current data on the kinds of aerosols produced. Sampling was performed during ten orthopedic surgical procedures at the Lovelace Medical Center to measure and characterize the aerosols for size distribution and concentration, and to estimate the amount of blood associated aerosols. Total hip replacement procedures produced higher concentrations of respirable aerosols compared to knee replacement procedures. Hemoglobin analyses using Chemstrip-9 indicated detectable amounts of blood associated aerosols, most of which appeared to be generated during irrigation/suction procedures. A laboratory study was conducted in dogs using chromium-51 labeled red blood cells to confirm and quantify blood associated aerosols generated during orthopedic surgeries. Results from the dog study showed that blood associated particles were produced by power tools during orthopedic surgery and that Chemstrip-9 sample responses correlated very closely with radioactivity measurements. A basis for quantifying the number of red blood cells (RBCs) associated with each aerosol particle size range was provided. About 60% of RBCs were associated with particles larger than 10 micrometers, while around 8% of RBCs were associated with particles less than 0.5 micrometers. The authors conclude that potential inhalation risk from aerosols generated during orthopedic surgery appears to be very low.
NIOSH-Author; Interagency Agreement IA-91-03; Interagency Agreement IA-92-05; Contract-IA-93-03; Red-blood-cells; Occupational-exposure; Surgery; Aerosol-particles; Health-care-personnel; Power-tools; Laboratory-animals
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Inhalation Toxicology Research Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Report No. ITRI-142, Interagency Agreements IA-91-03, IA-92-05 and IA-93-03, 584 pages, 82 references
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division