A Heritage of Loving Service: The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Tucson
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Heritage: The Story of St. Mary's Hospital, 1880-1980
By Leo G. Bryne and Sister Alberta Cammack, C.S.J

Chapter III Contemporary St. Mary's
Laminar Air-Flow System

For orthopedic surgery, in which the possibility of wound infection is extremely serious, the Laminar Air Flow System is the most advanced in providing an ultra-clean area. This system, with filtered air flowing down from the ceiling, is used in a special procedure room for total joint replacements. In this room, laminated safety-glass panels enclose the operating area with open spaces above and below the panels. There is a continuous down flow of bacteria-free air, and an air column from the ceiling filter-banks removes the air contaminants generated during surgery. This system is actually a "room within a room" providing a surgically clean area occupied by the surgeon, scrub nurses and patient. The anesthesiologist and circulating nurses remain outside. The vacuum headgear worn by the surgeons removes expired breath and facial contaminants. The hood which consists of a lightweight cap and a disposable plastic bubble is equipped with communication devices. The vertical laminar air flow maintains a predominantly zero bacteria count with 300 air changes per hour compared to 10 or 20 air changes in a conventional operating room.

Continue with Chapter III: Contemporary St. Mary's Intensive Care Heart Monitor

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