Conclusive evidence that appropriate ultraviolet irradiation of operating rooms reduces the number of bacteria in the air is tempered by the important question of whether or not these bacteria actually play a significant role in the incidence of postoperative infection. An answer to this question is offered by the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council (NAS-NRC) in a special supplement to the August Annals of Surgery.1 Past studies have usually been based on observations in single institutions and compared the incidence of wound infection for a period when operating rooms are irradiated with the incidence over a previous nonirradiation period. In such comparisons it is difficult, if not impossible, to evaluate the effects of other variables such as antibiotics, operative techniques, and aseptic principles.
To further test the effects of ultraviolet irradiation on postoperative wound infection, a cooperative study was instigated by the Committee on Trauma of the NAS-NRC.
Seeley SF. INFLUENCE OF ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT ON POSTOPERATIVE INFECTION. JAMA. 1964;189(7):574-575. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070070046012