AN IMPACT OF THE EFFICIENT FUNCTIONING OF THE VENTILATION AND AIR-CONDITIONING SYSTEM ON THERMAL COMFORT OF THE MEDICAL STAFF IN THE OPERATING ROOM
 
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1
Department of Chemical, Aerosols and Biological Hazards, Laboratory of Aerosols, Filtration and Ventilation, Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute, Czerniakowska 16, 00-701 Warsaw, Poland
2
Department of Ergonomics, Laboratory of Thermal Loads, Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute, Czerniakowska 16, 00-701 Warsaw, Poland
Publish date: 2016-11-01
 
J. Ecol. Eng. 2016; 17(5):114–119
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ABSTRACT
Ventilation and air conditioning systems are necessary for developing proper parameters of indoor envi-ronment in operating rooms. The main task of ventilation and air conditioning in those specific areas consists in creating desirable temperature, reducing the number of microorganisms and the concen-trations of hazardous gases and substances in the air, as well as ensuring the proper direction of airflow. In Poland, indoor environment in operating rooms has to comply with the requirements set out in three regulations (Journal of Laws of 2002 No. 75, item 690, as amended, Journal of Laws of 2002 No. 217, item 1833, Journal of Laws of 2011 No. 31, item 158, as amended) and the document entitled "Guidelines for the design of general hospitals". Given insufficient accuracy of the abovementioned national documents, it is a common practice to use foreign standards, i.e. ASHRAE Standard 170-2013, DIN 1946-4: 2008 and FprCEN TR 16244: 2011. When considering the conditions for thermal comfort, it is important to bear in mind a close link between air flow velocity and air temperature. Air in the zone occupied by patients and medical staff must not cause the sensation of draft. Furthermore, air velocity should be sufficient to eliminate interference caused by the presence of people and other sources of heat. It should also reduce the turbulence level in the air in the operating room. Efficient functioning of ventilation and air conditioning was tested during treatments and operations carried out on three wards of a Warsaw hospital. Tests were performed with the participation of medical staff from various surgical units. They were asked to perform minor manual tasks to simulate work on the op-erating table, and to complete a questionnaire on subjective thermal sensation. The applied methodology is widely used during testing of general and local ventilation in public buildings. Air temperature, relative humidity, air flow supply and exhaust air from the operating room were deter-mined on the basis of VelociCalc 8360 and Testo 435 anemometers with a 3-function probe and 3 vane probes with the diameter of 16 mm, 60 mm and 100 mm. Throughout the study, microclimate conditions in the operating rooms were controlled by the EHA MM101 microclimate meter. Test results showed that the microclimate parameters met the requirements of the aforementioned documents. However, individual thermal sensations reported by the medical staff pointed to the lack of thermal comfort and, in extreme cases, e.g. when using lead aprons during operations, perception of the thermal environment as ‘very hot’. The efficiency and type of air distribution in operating rooms has a decisive effect on the results.