The Presence of P22 Bacteriophage in Electrocautery Aerosols
Electrosurgery units, including lasers and electrosurgical cauterizers, are commonly used for both inpatient and outpatient procedures. The generation of an aerosol plume, associated with the use of these devices, is a result of many factors including: 1) direct aspiration of blood and body fluids, 2) direct heating and vaporization of cellular fluid causing cells to explode, and 3) the carbonization of cells and cell fragments at high temperatures. Although initial studies have concluded that these plumes create only a malodorous nuisance, subsequent research suggests the presence of potential chemical and pathological hazards, including bacteria and virus. Most scientific research has focused on the characteristics of aerosol plumes generated through the use of electrosurgical lasers. This study investigates the ability to transfer a viral agent (P22 bacteriophage) in a viable state, from solid virus-containing agarose growth media to an airborne aerosol. The results from this study will be used as an indicator of potential exposure for health-care workers involved in ESU surgical procedures.
Dale J. Stephenson, David A. Allcott, and Michael Koch. "The Presence of P22 Bacteriophage in Electrocautery Aerosols" Proceedings of the National Occupational Research Agenda Symposium, Salt Lake City, UT (2004).
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