We are aware of the controversy that Dr. Gold's report of trace levels of fentanyl and propofol in the air of surgical rooms has evoked. Drug dependence among surgical and anesthesiology staff is a serious and complex issue, and we acknowledge the potential for generation of bioaerosol containing narcotics during surgery. Our study was an examination of room air during cardiovascular surgeries in a local hospital to quantify the level of "second hand" fentanyl, a similar setting to that previously reported. Our findings are relevant to fentanyl only; we did not study or attempt to measure propofol. Our manuscript carefully detailed our sampling and analytical methodologies. We sampled an approximate 780-fold greater air volume and used instrumentation of equal sensitivity and better specificity to that reported by Dr. Gold. We are confident that if fentanyl-containing bioaerosol were present in the vicinity of the anesthesiology station at levels previously reported, we would have been able to quantify it.
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