ERCI Releases New Surgical Fire Prevention Recommendations

ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, in collaboration with the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, has released important changes to its recommendations for preventing surgical fires, according to an ERCI news release.

ERCI's recommendations focus on eliminating the traditional practice of open delivery of 100 percent oxygen during sedation, according to the release. Securing the airway is recommended if the patient requires an increased oxygen concentration. However, as oxygen concentration increases, so does the risk of fire, according to Mark Bruley, BS, CCE, vice president of accident and forensic investigation for ERCI.

"Fires in oxygen-enriched atmospheres ignite much more easily, burn hotter and spread more quickly. The goal is to stop open oxygen delivery for surgery around the head and upper chest. For exceptional cases, which are detailed in the new guidance, delivery of the minimum concentration of oxygen necessary to maintain adequate blood oxygen saturation is recommended," Mr. Bruley said in the release.

Additional fire safety resources available through ECRI Institute include its new Surgical Fires Prevention Web site, which offers links to a surgical fire prevention poster for the operating room, a downloadable poster with steps for extinguishing a surgical fire and contact information for immediate confidential assistance for facilities that require accident investigation, according to the release.

ECRI and APSF are also producing a new surgical fire educational video to be released in late 2009 and developing an online course with continuing medical education credits to be available in early 2010, according to the release.

The guidance is available in the October issue of ERCI's Health Devices.

Read the release about ERCI's new surgica

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