Time-Dependent Contamination of Opened Sterile Operating-Room Trays

Dalstrom, David J.; Venkatarayappa, Indresh; Manternach, Alison L.; Palcic, Marilyn S.; Heyse, Beth A.; Prayson, Michael J.
May 2008
Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, American Volume;May2008, Vol. 90-A Issue 5, p1022
Academic Journal
Background: There are no clear guidelines for how long a sterile operating-room tray can be exposed to the open environment before the contamination risk becomes unacceptable. The purpose of this study was to determine the time until first contamination and the rate of time-dependent contamination of sterile trays that had been opened in a controlled operating-room environment. We also examined the effect of operating-room traffic on the contamination rate. Methods: Forty-five sterile trays were opened in a positive-air-flow operating room. The trays were randomly assigned to three groups. All trays were opened with use of sterile technique and were exposed for four hours. Culture specimens were obtained immediately after opening and every thirty minutes thereafter during the study period. Group 1 consisted of fifteen trays that were opened and left uncovered in a locked operating room (i.e., one with no traffic). Group 2 was identical to Group 1 with the addition of single-person traffic flowing in and out of the operating room from a nonsterile corridor every ten minutes. Group 3 included fifteen trays that were opened, immediately covered with a sterile surgical towel, and then left uncovered in a locked operating room (i.e., one with no traffic). Results: Three of the thirty uncovered trays (one left in the operating room with traffic and two left in the room with no traffic) were found to be contaminated immediately after opening. After those three trays were eliminated, the contamination rates recorded for the twenty-seven uncovered trays were 4% (one tray) at thirty minutes, 15% (four) at one hour, 22% (six) at two hours, 26% (seven) at three hours, and 30% (eight) at four hours. There was no difference in survival time (p = 0.47) or contamination rate (p = 0.69) between the uncovered trays in the room with traffic and those in the room without traffic. The covered trays were not contaminated during the testing period. The survival time for those trays was significantly longer (p = 0.03) and the contamination rate was significantly lower (p = 0.02) than those for the uncovered trays. Conclusions: Culture positivity correlated directly with the duration of open exposure of the uncovered operating-room trays. Light traffic in the operating room appeared to have no impact on the contamination risk. Coverage of surgical trays with a sterile towel significantly reduced the contamination risk. Clinical Relevance: Sterile trays should not be opened until they are specifically needed during the procedure. Coverage of opened trays with a sterile towel is recommended to minimize their exposure to environmental contaminants.


Related Articles

  • OR Cleanliness. English, Travis // ASHRAE Journal;Apr2014, Vol. 56 Issue 4, p11 

    A letter to the editor in response to the article "Improving Operating Room Contamination Control" by Jennifer A. Wagner in the February 2014 issue is presented.

  • OR Cleanliness. Wagner, Jennifer // ASHRAE Journal;Apr2014, Vol. 56 Issue 4, p11 

    A letter to the editor in response to the article "Improving Operating Room Contamination Control," by Jennifer A. Wagner in the February 2014 is presented.

  • Microbial contamination in the operating theatre: a study in a hospital in Baghdad. Ensayef, S.; Al-Shalchi, S.; Sabbar, M. // Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal;jan/feb2009, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p219 

    Contamination of the operating theatre is a major cause of nosocomial infection. This study aimed to evaluate the incidence of bacterial contamination of operating theatres in Al Imam Ali Hospital in Baghdad, and the source of contamination. From 1216 swabs collected from surfaces, equipment and...

  • Clinical digest. MOBILE PHONES CARRIED INTO OPERATING AREAS MAY POSE A HEALTH RISK.  // Nursing Standard;1/9/2013, Vol. 27 Issue 19, p14 

    The article discusses research published within the article "The Cross-Contamination Potential of Mobile Telephones" by White et al., which found that mobile telephones carried into operating rooms may pose a health risk due to the fact that they contain pathogens.

  • The effect of mechanical ventilation and clothing on airborne microbes and wound sepsis in hospital operating rooms, Part 1. Whyte, W. // Clean Air & Containment Review;Apr2015, Issue 22, p4 

    This article is the first part of a review of investigations carried out until about 1990 into the role of mechanical ventilation in reducing wound sepsis in hospitals. It deals with the design of mechanical ventilation systems to reduce airborne microbe-carrying particles (MCPs), and mainly...

  • Surgical irrigation and infection risk. Crosby, Cynthia // Healthcare Purchasing News;Aug2006, Vol. 30 Issue 8, p50 

    The article talks about surgical irrigation methods and infection risk. Several procedures are followed by surgical personnel to reduce the risk of surgical-related bacterial contamination including practicing thorough skin antisepsis, proper hand hygiene and barrier protocols. The commonly used...

  • Bakteriekontamination pÃ¥ övertäckt operationsdukning -- en pilotstudie med mätning av bakterier pÃ¥ operations-dukningar i tomma fullt ventilerade operationsrum efter 15 och 24 timmar. Sandström, Maria; Klarin, Karin; Söderström, Harriet; Karlsson, Carina; Johansson, Anders; Åkesdotter Gustafsson, Birgitta // Nordic Journal of Nursing Research & Clinical Studies / VÃ¥rd i ;2014, Vol. 34 Issue 2, p16 

    No abstract available.

  • ode to operating theatres.  // Dissector;Sep2012, Vol. 40 Issue 2, p30 

    A retrospective view of the changes that have occurred in operating theatres in the past 50 years along with discussion on the progression and improvement that has occurred since that time.

  • the new bamboo. Sontag, Katherine L.; Walters, Amanda Boyd // Cincinnati Magazine;Aug2009, Vol. 42 Issue 11, p33 

    Several photographs of clothing and home furnishings made from bamboo including a serving tray from West Elm, a bamboo cotton chenille throw from Pottery Barn, and Dreamsacks bamboo beach towel from Park + Vine store.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics