Physics and function of operating room suction.


A study was done to evaluate the performance of suction apparatus in the operating room. The investigation was prompted by perceived poor suction performance in a suite of new operating rooms built in accordance with Standards Australia (SA) specifications. SA performance tests were conducted on each of four suction outlets in nine operating rooms. All 36 outlets complied with SA standards for flow-rate (minimum 40 L/min) and occluded negative pressure (ONP; minimum -60 kPa). However, 24 collection units failed to comply with standards (ONP) of -40 kPa achieved in less than 4 s when a 4 L disposable suction apparatus was connected (mean time to ONP: 6.1 s, 95% confidence interval: 4.9, 7.3). When smaller capacity suction jars were substituted, more units met SA standards. The standards therefore need revision to include specification of the capacity of the collecting apparatus. Other factors that were found to degrade suction performance significantly were air leakage and defective shut-off valves. The physical principles involved in operating room suction are described. Surgeons and anaesthetists should understand these principles, and it is recommended that a simple pre-operative check of the suction apparatus should be carried out, as follows: (1) Turn the wall control knob fully on, and disconnect the suction apparatus. The gauge should register zero. (2) Connect the suction jars. If the indicated gauge pressure is in excess of -15 kPa, investigate the equipment for excessive resistance, particularly in the shut-off valve, which should be replaced with a new unit if necessary.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Cite this paper

@article{Meagher1991PhysicsAF, title={Physics and function of operating room suction.}, author={Alan P Meagher and Thomas B. Hugh and B Li and Seferino Montano}, journal={The Australian and New Zealand journal of surgery}, year={1991}, volume={61 9}, pages={687-91} }