News | July 09, 2007

AORN to Publish Results of Surgical Smoke Survey

July 10, 2007 - AORN encourages participation in a brief benchmarking survey designed by researchers at Duke University Medical Center to measure the extent of recommended control measure use during procedures that produce surgical smoke.

The survey results are expected to be published in the AORN Journal later this year.

Many perioperative nurses are exposed to surgical smoke on a daily basis, yet there is still much to be learned about long-term hazards and the ways of mitigating the risks of exposure to surgical smoke.

Guidance issued by various governmental, medical and industry organizations shows broad agreement on steps that should be taken to protect against this hazard, but the specified control measures are not being applied in all cases. That's why AORN's General Surgery/Gynecology Specialty Assembly (SA), AORN's Perioperative Environment of Care Committee and researchers from Duke University are partnering to gather information on the extent to which medical staff are using the recognized control measures to reduce exposure to surgical smoke.

Surgical smoke is a term used to describe the aerosols, particulates and vapors released into the air when electrosurgical or laser energies are used in surgery to cut tissue. Evidence suggests that surgical smoke contains dangerous chemical and biological agents that can cause negative health effects for surgical staff, as well as patients.

AORN encourages all members to take part in a Web-based benchmark survey which was developed by researchers at Duke University Medical Center to measure the extent of LEV use during procedures that produce surgical smoke.
Many professional organizations have adopted recommendations supporting the use of LEV for surgical smoke, including AORN, the American Nurses Association and the American National Standards Institute.

Several U.S. government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Drug Administration and OSHA, have issued concurring statements supporting use of LEV, but those guidelines are not mandatory,

For more information: www.safety.duke.edu/radsafety/smoke/

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