[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
May 1969

The Importance of Airborne Contamination as a Factor in Postoperative Wound Infection

Author Affiliations

Bronx, NY
From the Infection Control Office, Department of Surgery, Misericordia Hospital, Bronx, NY.

Arch Surg. 1969;98(5):654-658. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340110146021

Among the factors involved in postoperative wound infection, the effect of airborne contamination in the operating room has been considered of major importance, and substantial efforts have been directed toward minimizing its influence.1-10 A unique situation created by an affiliation between two hospitals with identical surgical staff but with markedly different operating room designs provided an opportunity to assess this influence.

Figure 1 shows the floor plan of the self-contained isolated operating room (OR) suite of Misericordia Hospital, a recently built 340-bed voluntary institution. The suite has an independent temperature-humidity control unit. Extraneous traffic is not admitted, and each operating room has an adjacent scrub area. Figure 2 shows the operating suite at Fordham Hospital, a 420-bed municipal institution built in 1907. The shaded area indicates public corridors. The elevators and staircases shown open directly on the OR corridor and are the only such facilities for general use. All