Catalytic Surgical Smoke Filtration Unit Reduces Formaldehyde Levels in a Simulated Operating Room Environment
Gregory T. Carroll* and David L. Kirschman
Electrosurgery and procedures that utilize formalin expose healthcare workers to formaldehyde. Incorporating catalytic materials into air-purifying devices has the potential to reduce formaldehyde levels in nosocomial settings. A catalytic transition metal oxide was interfaced with a portable negative pressure (PNP) unit in a simulated operating room (OR) polluted with formaldehyde by exposure to formalin and by applying electrosurgical cuts to porcine muscle. The formaldehyde levels decayed biexponentially when the PNP unit was equipped with a catalyst. When the PNP unit was off, the time-weighted average concentration of formaldehyde detected in the perimeter of the OR during simulated electrosurgery was 0.45 (0.21) ppm. When the PNP unit was on, the time-weighted average concentration reduced to 0.15 (0.08) ppm. The device has the potential to considerably reduce formaldehyde levels in OR environments.