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Ultraviolet Light Reduces Infection Risk After Surgery

Infection risk lower compared with laminar airflow

THURSDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Ultraviolet light during surgery can reduce the risk of infection after joint replacement more so than laminar airflow, although appropriate safety precautions are needed, including protective eye-shields and clothing. The findings are published in the September issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Merrill A. Ritter, M.D., and colleagues from St. Francis Hospital-Mooresville in Indiana analyzed infection rates after 5,980 total joint replacements, of which 1,071 (17.9 percent) were performed with use of laminar airflow and the remaining 4,909 (82.1 percent) were performed with use of ultraviolet lighting.

The researchers found that 47 infections occurred, with a significantly lower infection rate with ultraviolet lighting (0.57 versus 1.77 percent). The odds of infection were 3.1 times higher for procedures using laminar airflow compared with ultraviolet lighting.

"When appropriate safety precautions are taken, ultraviolet lighting appears to be an effective way to lower the risk of infection in the operating room during total joint replacement surgery," Ritter and colleagues conclude.

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