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July 1979


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Orthopaedics, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.

Arch Surg. 1979;114(7):771. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1979.01370310013002

Although the fear of "hospitalism" is past, and the surgical patient no longer is "... exposed to more chances of death than the English soldier on the field of Waterloo,"1 the incidence of postoperative wound infections can be decreased. The adoption of Whitfield's high-efficiency particulate air filtration with laminar airflow to the operating room by John Charnley has introduced a new technique into the surgeon's armamentarium. While surgeons await scientific evaluation of the various modifications of unidirectional airflow facilities, emotional arguments about the future rates of infection with use of this system discredit the profession.

In this symposium, the various types of unidirectional facilities in use are described. The ability of these facilities to lower airborne bacterial contamination in the operating room is well documented by the various authors.

Will this lowered level of airborne bacterial contamination of the operating room reduce the incidence of postoperative sepsis? We all await

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