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Dr. Lalit Verma
Chairman, Scientific Committee - AIOS
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Author Topic: Query No:71 - Protocol for OT fumigation  (Read 4656 times)
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« on: September 11, 2009, 11:48:33 AM »

what is the protocol to be followed for OT fumigation? do any of the agents used,  damage the optics and air conditioners in the OT.

Dr. Gul J. Nankani
MUMBAI 400022
TEL :  24071118
FAX : 24071119

Expert Comments:

Regarding OT  fumigation: 
At the outset let me begin by saying that there are no formal published guidelines for OT Fumigation. This exercise is more of a physiological benefit for the OT Staff.

In spite of this we continue with formalin or other fumigation methods.
The  formalin fumigation can be done every day for at least 7 – 10 days in case of newly constructed OTs’
In an established theater, maybe once a week.
The formalin does not damage any of the OT equipments.
If in doubt about the formalin, other methods like using Hydrogen peroxide can be used. This is for fast fumigation like in-between surgeries. The smell and fumes are not there and  it takes about 30 minutes to finish
Hope this answers your question and I  would be happy to answer any further queries.


Lalitha Prajna.

Responses to Expert Comment


Dear sir,
Regarding OR fumigation I would like to mention that in an ideal OR where there is efficient Air Handling System(HEPA filters)and where mechanical cleaning is  done religiously there is absolutely no need for fumigation by formalin or by any other agent.Formalin is toxic to the respiratory system and has carcinogenic property. It is better to be avoided. But in India how many ORs are ideal? Most of the Indian ORs don’t have AHS. So the only alternative is formalin fumigation. In closed OR where split air conditioners are used( ACs are not AHSs ) the pungent smell of the OR remains for many days making it uncomfortable and hazardous both for the OR staff and the patients. The window AC does have outflow facility that when started can drive away the formalin air. But the resultant vacuums will be filled up outside air which will not serve any purpose. Same is the case with exhaust fans. One can put ammonium hydroxide to do away with the pungent smell of formalin, but that also does not work always. A better option is the Ecoshield, a Hydrogen Peroxide solution , which breaks down to water vapour and nascent oxygen. But in an ophthalmic OR it causes the water vapour to accumulate over the walls, equipments and even inside of the microscope resulting in damage to the optics and other valuables. So the situation is never ideal in India unless we have resources to own good AHS s. Room air sterilizers can be used as poor man’s HEPA filters with unproven efficacy.
Thanking you,

Yours sincerely

Dr Narayan Bardoloi
Medical Director
Chandraprabha Eye Hospital
K.K. Handique Path
Jorhat – 785001,Assam
Ph : 0376 2304500
Mob : 94350 51807 / Fax – 0376 234835
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