Patent number 8505533 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This disclosure relates to undesirable airway and drape fires which may erupt during surgical procedures.
"Dangerous fires can and do occur during surgery, including in patient airways and under surgical drapes.
"An airway fire is a fire in the airway or breathing circuit of a patient. Airway fires may be low-frequency, peri-anesthetic adverse events that may occur in healthy patients with devastating consequences, including severe burns, disfigurement, and death. Studies have established that incendiary characteristics and breakdown products of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) endotracheal tubes (ETTs), as well as the clinical scenarios, can lead to an airway or surgical field fire.
"In a closed-claims review by an
"As an example, one operating room fire occurred during an attempted
"Fire Sources in the Operating Room
"Three elements must usually be present for a fire: an ignition source, an oxidizer, and a fuel source. The categorical causes may be broadly described as: Ignition sources in the O.R. setting include electrocautery, electrosurgical units, lasers, heated probes, drills or burrs (heat or sparks), argon beam collimators, fiber-optic light cables, defibrillation pads or paddles, and other heat-generating or flame-generating devices. Gaseous oxidizers include oxygen and nitrous oxide, the latter being a potent oxidizer. Oxidizer enriched environments can be created internally within a closed or semi-closed (circle system) breathing circuit, the endotracheal tube (ETT)/laryngeal mask airway (LMA), the lower airway below the vocal cords, and in any breathing tube that serves as a conduit for delivery of oxygen to the lungs. Other oxygen delivery systems in use include tracheostomy tubes, double-lumen tubes for separate and/or combined lung ventilation, transtracheal oxygen jet devices, and endoscopes equipped with channels for gas delivery. An oxidizer-rich environment can also be created externally with the use of open gas sources (e.g., nasal cannulae, external face masks, tracheostomy masks), particularly when combined with drapes and tenting environments that promote the pooling of oxygen or nitrous oxide. Potential fuel sources include (1) Patient: hair, gastrointestinal gases; (2) Surgical preparation agents: alcohol, degreasers (acetone), aerosols, tinctures (benzoin, mastazol), ethyl chloride spray, dermatone glue; (3) Linens: gowns, drapes, blankets, paper materials; (4) Dressings: stockinette, tapes, sponges, collodion, gauze; (5) Ointments: wax, medical adhesive spray, petrolatum, tincture of benzoin, plastic and rubber products; (6) Anesthesia components: Breathing/respiratory circuits, mask, airways, ETTs, carbon dioxide absorbents. Flammable agents (ether) are no longer used in the
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