Past President AORN
Today we have the technology to evacuate ALL surgical smoke so why are smoke evacuators and filtration devices not being used consistently? AORN has taken a leadership position by publishing their position statement that was ratified overwhelmingly by the AORN House of Delegates on April 3, 2008. This statement (see below) officially announces AORN’s stance that all surgical smoke must be eliminated to provide a safe workplace environment – not just in the OR but in every setting where surgical smoke is generated (ERs, clinics, endoscopy suites, physician offices, etc.) This position statement along with AORN’s and ORNAC’s recommended practices provide detailed information for the formation of individual hospital policies and procedures.
Research has conclusively demonstrated that surgical smoke is hazardous, equipment and supplies are available for effective evacuation, and evidence-based recommendations are published to provide guidance for smoke evacuation practices – now we need is action! “Become Nasti” and ensure you’re not exposed to these harmful inhalation contaminants.
AORN POSITION STATEMENT:
SURGICAL SMOKE AND BIO-AEROSOLS
AORN recognizes that exposure to surgical smoke and bio-aerosols poses a hazard to patients and perioperative professionals. Smoke and bio-aerosols are routinely produced by surgical instruments; eg, lasers, electrosurgical units, radiofrequency devices, ultrasonic devices, power tools. Research studies have confirmed that plume and bio-aerosols contain odor-causing and odorless toxic gases, vapors, dead and live cellular debris (including blood fragments), and viruses.1-7 These airborne contaminants can pose respiratory, ocular, dermatological and other health-related risks, including mutagenic and carcinogenic potential, to patients and operating room personnel.1-7
OSHA estimates that 500,000 health care workers are exposed to surgical smoke each year.8 Although the long-term deleterious effects from exposure to surgical smoke and bio-aerosols have not been clearly established, AORN supports the need to be proactive to prevent harm. Understanding the environmental hazards of surgical smoke and bio-aerosols produced during operative and invasive procedures is paramount to the implementation of adequate protective measures for both patients and personnel involved in their care. AORN also recognizes that this hazard exists in practice areas that extend beyond the perioperative environment, such as obstetrical surgical services, cardiac cath labs, emergency rooms, interventional radiology, endoscopy suites, clinics, and physician offices.
AORN believes that exposure to surgical smoke and bio-aerosols can and should be controlled. Health care professionals are responsible for learning about surgical smoke and bio-aerosols and taking steps to minimize the risks associated with these hazards.
AORN recommends the following risk reduction strategies:
This website is sponsored by AMT Electrosurgery
Surgical plume can carry dangerous bacteria and viruses, including HIV.
As such, they can produce upper respiratory irritation, and have
in-vitro mutagenic potential.
More than 500,000 healthcare workers are exposed to laser or electrosurgical smoke each year in North America, including surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgical technologists. When the Smoke Evacuation System is turned on, everyone can Breathe Easy. Want to Clear the Air of Surgical Plume?
Take charge of your work environment.