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With particulate matter, the risk of infection also reaches the operating room

The importance of cleaning the surgical unit

The importance of cleaning the surgical unit

The hygiene of the surgical unit is influenced by many aspects such as the ventilation system, the quality of the materials, the maintenance or the cleaning and disinfection procedures, which together contribute, to varying degrees, to producing, keeping in suspension or resuspending from surfaces in the ambient air, particulate matter of various nature and size.

Particulate matter that can be a vehicle for pathogenic micro-organisms that can contaminate the surrounding environment and those present in the surgical unit. Moreover, given that during surgery this particulate matter can cause high levels of contamination, it follows that it can be considered a risk factor that must be eliminated or contained within the lowest achievable values.

It must also be borne in mind that the areas most at risk of contamination and therefore of depositing particulate matter and micro-organisms are generally horizontal surfaces, and it is therefore towards these that washing and disinfection procedures must be carried out more frequently and maintenance performed periodically.

Environmental cleaning operations

Environmental cleaning operations

Cleaning activities in the operating room play a key role. For this reason, appropriate environmental hygiene protocols must be observed. Operations such as washing with detergent and disinfectant solutions and wet dusting are, for example, measures to prevent the airborne dispersion of contaminated particles.

In addition, in the environmental cleaning operations of an operating theatre, where both daily and periodic interventions are foreseen, precise techniques must be applied and acquired to ensure that the interventions are effective in guaranteeing the level of safety for the operator and the patient.

Cleaning activities in the operating room play a key role. For this reason, appropriate environmental hygiene protocols must be observed. Operations such as washing with detergent and disinfectant solutions and wet dusting are, for example, measures to prevent the airborne dispersion of contaminated particles.

In addition, in the environmental cleaning operations of an operating theatre, where both daily and periodic interventions are foreseen, precise techniques must be applied and acquired to ensure that the interventions are effective in guaranteeing the level of safety for the operator and the patient.

The areas of the surgical unit and the different levels of cleanliness

The areas of the surgical unit and the different levels of cleanliness

As stated in the guide drawn up by ANMDO, in hospital structures the operating block consists of various rooms, in which, depending on the intended use, different levels of hygiene must be guaranteed to guarantee the required level of safety.

The rooms are generally coded in different zones according to the degree of acceptability of the microbial load and the differential pressure of the environments:

  • Zone A: Operating theatre, hybrid room, hand washing, induction and awakening.
  • Zone B: Sterilisation/decontamination area
  • Zone C: Offices, relaxation area, clean room, filter zone, corridors
  • Zone D: Dirty and waste material room, corridors
  • Zone E: Staff changing rooms and toilets

On the whole, the operating block can be defined as an organised structure whose purpose is to provide highly specialised and invasive healthcare services.

Finally, the infections for which very effective prevention is possible are exogenous infections, i.e. caused by microorganisms transmitted to the patient during invasive procedures; consequently, surgical instruments and everything that penetrates the body or comes into contact with the patient's tissues or surfaces must be sterile.

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