Medical aerosol high flow suction system, how to operate safely

Medical aerosol high flow suction system, how to operate safely

Following the coronavirus emergency, surgeries and medical offices shall be reorganised to work safely. One of the first safety measure to adopt concerns suction of aerosol potentially infected.

Why aereosol suction is essential

The actual pandemy brought back to center stage the problem of contamination risk caused by aerosol, derived from turbines and other surgery tools.
It is well-known that who operates patients faces several biological risks due to the possibility of the aerosol to contaminate. As a fact, during operations rotating and ultrasonic instruments are employed, which remove bulk material from the working area and creating, as a consequence, an overspray potentially infected and contaminating.
Consequently, an aerosol suction system is necessary to avoid diffusion of potential contaminating elements. Those, through turbines’ cooling water and air flows, can expand into a fog bigger than 1m2 containing biological material, among which virus and bacteria.

The risk of infection

Covid-19, as many other virus, is trasmitted through saliva. It may happens to healthcare professionals to operate infected patients, who have no idea to be positive to Covid-19 or other virus. This could expose operators to the contagion.
Indeed, inhalation of particles and aerosol during procedures on patients Covid-19 affected is a risk situation, to which doctors and dentists are exposes every day. For this reason, it is important for professionals to implement prevention strategies to avoid infection working on positioning of patients, hand and personal protective equipment hygiene.

Aspirator with defined suction: only effective active solution

Considered that medical staffs are already provided with personal protective equipment, which is a “passive” protection against biological risk, to further reduce infection probability it is necessary to employ “active” solutions capable to abate aerosol before that reach operators, their protective equipment and their respiratory tracks potentially.
Once aerosol is dispersed in the room, it is almost impossible to take it down. That is why the suction needs to be as close as possible to the source of spraying. The solution comes from industrial field, where operators’ respiratory tracks are protected by  advanced suction technologies from fumes and dustsderivings.
Applied the same technology, the articulated aspiration arm of the aerosol suction system can be placed at 20-30cm from patient’s mouth, so to let the operator work comfortably. In this way, dangerous residual volatile components are directed away from operational area, taking down risks odf contamination. Lastly, aerosol sucted is filtred by fog abatement device with final effectiveness HEPA H14 amounting to 99,9%. Only after that, air is truly purified and can be re-emitted in the room or outside, accordin to logistic needs and facilities.

Next-generation aerosol suction system requirements

Varied aerosol suction system are already available on the market. Nevertheless, in the specific case of Covid-19, is important to deal with aspiration and filtration technically.

  • Suction performance and aspirator size:let’s give up with small engines with low power. The suction device needs to have appropriate capability to the amount of air to be sucted. Our engineers advice: 400 mc/h.
  • Suction arm and hood size:tiny laboratory arms are not suitable for heavy duty, on the contrary, they would obstruct the aspirator. Our design enineers know that pipes need to have at least 100mm diameter to draw silently and effectively. The hood has to be capable to aspire at 20-30 cm from the working area, with no need to be placed too close to patients.
  • Pre-abatement of moist particles:aerosol is composed by a moist fog. Moist elements need to be separated from the rest as first step of the process, so to prevent them to reach directly the absolute fitler and corrupt it making it wet. Distrust device not equipped with drip tray or drainage.
  • 4-step professional filtration:when it comes to virus “easy” and “compact” devices are not enough. Instead, multistage filtration is needed equivalent to those employed in surgeries air handling unit. Coronavirus particles size id estimated bewtween 0,12 and 0,16 µm, as a consequence the suitable filter for the final stage needs to be HEPA H14, the only capable to stop 99,9995% of aerosol dangerous particles.

Aerosol suction system: new solutions designed against Covid-19

It is strongly not recommended to use aspirator not specifically design for this aim.
Following, three suitable solutions depending on operational needs and avalaible space:

  • Mobile aerosol suction system with self-supporting arm, pre-abatement of moist particles, absolute filtration HEPA H14 99,9995%, clear joints and hood with circular section.
    Size: mm 510x660x780 H (arm excluded)
    Rated capacity: 400 mc/h
    Weight: kg 60
    Power: 180 Watt 220/1/50
    Advantages: mobile solution to move the device in different working spaces
    Disadvantages: not suitable for tiny spaces
    Click here for further information
  • Wall or ceiling mounted suction system with pre-abatement of moist particles, absolute filtration HEPA H14 99,9995%, connection kit to sel-supporting suction arm fixed to the ceiling or wall and clear hood with circular section.
    Size: mm 600x700x900 H (arm excluded)
    Rated capacity: 400 mc/h
    Weight: kg 55
    Power: 180 Watt 220/1/50
    Advantages: no floor space required, the arm comes down from the ceiling or the wall reaching the working area.
    Disadvantages: installation for wall/ceiling-mounting and connection to power supply.
    Click here for further information
  • Centralized aerosol suction system: Ideal solution when it is necessary to aspire air from many workstations. Flows are directed by suction arms wall or ceiling mounted, which connect the different workstations to the same purifying station with moist fog abatement and absolute filter HEPA H14 99,995%.
    Advantages: no device obstructing the working area, ideal while projecting new studios.
    Disadvantages: difficult to install ex-post, since false ceilings, masonries and engineering works are needed.

UV rays and activated carbon are useless, rather insidious for aspirators

Some aerosol suction system are already available on the market. But those are not specifically desinged for aerosol treatment.
As a fact, many of those device do not solve the moisture problems already – analalyzed in this article – working with UV rays or activated carbon panels.
Some characteristics can even be dangerous, other than ineffective:

  • UV rays lamp inside the aspirator, with the aim to kill virus, germs and basteria: as demonstrated by technical literature, UV rays need long exposure time to sterilize effectively. Time of exposure which is not enough in this kind of system.
  • Activated carbons with filtering panel: activated carbons are useful for deodorization or to filter organical solvents. Also activated carbons need long time of axposure to worj efficently, otherwise their pores do not have enough time to absorb. Actually, in our case activated carbons can even be dangerous, since when applied with moist fog they can become prolific for fungus and basteria, consequenlty contaiminating the air reimmeted in the room.

Our technical staff is always available to clarify doubts, help with any request and give technical advice. Fill in the form at the end of the page to be contacted.

Link and credits
Ministero della salute / bufale sul Covid-19 
L’effetto dell’aerosol nello studio odontoiatrico – Prof. Abati
Covid-19 e odontoiatria, analisi delle risorse
Filtrazione HEPA come funziona
Radiazione ultravioletta germicida
Carbone attivo

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