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Ultraviolet Light Disinfects Majority of Hospital Pathogens

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 29 Jan 2019
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Image: FMUV light panels disinfecting an OR (Photo courtesy of Northwell Health).
Image: FMUV light panels disinfecting an OR (Photo courtesy of Northwell Health).
Using ultraviolet (UV) disinfection technology can eliminate up to 97.7% of pathogens in operating rooms (ORs), according to a new study.

Researchers at Northwell Health (Lake Success, NY, USA) and Cornell University (Cornell; Ithaca, NY, USA) conducted a study to evaluate the performance of the PurpleSun (New York, NY, USA) focused multivector ultraviolet (FMUV) system, which delivers a shadowless, 90-second disinfection cycle for patient care equipment both inside and outside the OR suite, without manual-chemical disinfection. For the study, a 5-point multisided sampling protocol was used to measure the microbial burden on different objects.

Surface sampling of over 3,000 sites both inside and outside of the OR was performed pre- and post-disinfection, so as to assess the performance of manual-chemical disinfection. The ensuing performance of the FMUV system was separately assessed pre- and post-disinfection, initially before the first case and then in between cases. Additionally, visibly clean high-touch objects were sampled outside the OR, and the microbial burden reductions after FMUV disinfection were quantified without manual-chemical disinfection.

The results revealed that manual-chemical disinfection reduced the active microbial burden on sampled objects (in between cases) by 52.8-90.9%. FMUV, on the other hand, reduced the active microbial burden by 92-97.7% before the first case and in between cases combined, and 96.3-99.6% on objects outside the OR, even without chemical disinfection. The researchers concluded that the PurpleSun FMUV can all but eliminate human and product error contributing to the proliferation of pathogens. The study was published on November 27, 2018, in the American Journal of Infection Control.

“Ultraviolet light technology will not replace manual cleaning and disinfection with chemicals, but it is has a place in health care settings. This technology can optimize environmental cleanliness, resulting in decreased pathogens that could potentially cause infection,” said lead author Donna Armellino, RN, DNP, vice president of infection prevention at Northwell Health. “FMUV produced significant overall reductions of the microbial burden on patient care equipment in all study phases, independent of manual cleaning and chemical disinfection.”

The PurpleSun FMUV device can be deployed to enclose equipment on all sides using modular panels, with foldable partitions whose light hits five different surface points and uses high levels of UV intensity in 90-second intervals.

Related Links:
Northwell Health
Cornell University

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