Ventilation performance evaluation of an operating room with temperature-controlled airflow system in contaminant control

A numerical study

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This article investigates the efficacy of temperature-controlled airflow systems in modern operating rooms for contaminant control, a critical factor in preventing surgical site infections. We have conducted experimental measurements in an operating room equipped with temperature-controlled ventilation to map the airflow field and contaminant dispersion (airborne particles with diameters ranging from 0.5 to 1 μm). The results were used to validate the computational fluid dynamics code, which was then employed to simulate and examine different conditions, including contaminant release locations and air supply rates. Realizable k-epsilon and passive scalar models were utilized to simulate airflow and airborne particle phases. We assessed the airflow distribution and contaminant dispersion, utilizing indices such as ventilation and air change efficiency scales. The analysis provided quantitative insights into the distribution and removal of contaminants, as well as the speed at which the room air was replaced. Contamination was found to be effectively reduced when contaminants were released near exhaust outlets or under central unidirectional inlets. The presence of the operating table caused a big distortion of the central downward airflow, forming a horizontal air barrier at the periphery. Under this unique interior configuration, an appropriate air supply ratio between central and periphery zones was required to achieve optimal overall ventilation performance.