Experimental investigation of hospital operating room air distribution
Stevenson, Tyler C.
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Surgical Site Infections (SSI) are a significant and potentially preventable source of illness and death for surgical patients. An unknown, but potentially significant fraction of SSI may be caused by airborne infectious particles. Improved or optimized room air distribution may reduce these infections by minimizing the transport of infectious particles into the surgical site. A sophisticated CFD analysis, previously conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), found that a buoyant thermal plume produced by heat from the surgical site itself could play a significant role in protecting the site from infectious particles. This study experimentally determines the airflow patterns around a simulated patient in a mock operating room using particle image velocimetry (PIV) to find the influence of the buoyant thermal plume on the flow. In addition, independent CFD analysis was performed using a standard commercial CFD program both to help guide and interpret the experimental results and to test the performance of a more readily available tool in predicting the experimental findings. The results of the experimental results and CFD analysis were quantitatively compared to find their agreement.