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'Setting a new standard' for healthcare ventilation

Independent air movement specialist, Gilberts Blackpool, has published research into the most ‘effective, healthy way’ to ventilate in operating theatres.

The findings coincide with publication of the new Health Technical Memorandum 03-01: Specialised ventilation for healthcare premises, with the findings ‘validating that the most effective way to ventilate within operating theatres is to use laminar flow directly above the operating table’. Gilberts Blackpool said: “The optimal design is to position the panels in a line to discharge clean, filtered air directly down over the patient, washing down over the operating table for extraction by low level grilles. This optimises removal of airborne contaminants from the patient, thus reducing the risk of infection. It also avoids the potential risk of contamination from air coming into contact with the theatre personnel, and transferring pollutants back onto the patients.

“The aims of the ventilation are to prevent airborne contaminants entering the theatre, dilute airborne contaminants, and control airflow,” explains Gilberts’ Technical director, Roy Jones. “HTM 03-01 advises 22 air changes / hour at a velocity of 0.2-0.3 m3 at the operating table –

either a laminar flow strategy or radial convergence (diffusers in a rectangle around the table). We undertook in-depth analysis, not only computer-modelling (via CFD), but also undertook real-time tests in our purpose-built laboratory. The study confirmed that the best configuration to ensure adequate washing over and away to avoid contamination is via laminar flow panels. It was noted that there is risk of entrainment back into the incoming air using the air convergence strategy.”

Gilberts offers an established range of laminar flow panels – PGL – ‘already widely used in operating theatres, laboratories, and similar stringently-controlled environments’.

The PGL perforated laminar flow panels provide an equalised turbulence-free input of air into the treated zone. The 1200 x 600 mm panels create a vertical air projection. The company says that in this way a clean, uncontaminated air zone can be supplied to surrounding critical areas, i.e. operating tables and worktops.

Founded some 60 years ago, Gilberts has the ability to develop components, ‘mainstream’ or bespoke – entirely in-house, from initial design through tooling, production, testing and supply, at its 85,000 ft2 manufacturing facility. It says its test centre in Blackpool is ‘one of the most technically advanced in the country’.

 

 

 

 

 

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