Protecting Those Who Served: Ventilation At Walter Reed

Article | ES Magazine (2014)

At Walter Reed Military Medical Center, the mission was an air distribution overhaul of the surgical operating room suites without interrupting the ongoing delivery of care. The project team designed and delivered an upgraded environment in each new OR using a new desiccant-based system and custom air handlers. The result was increased environment flexibility and safety in the surgical suites, and more. 

The Why Behind the Way

The statistics are sobering. Approximately 99,000 deaths are reported each year in the United States from Health Care Acquired Infections (HAI), according to the Centers for Disease Control. By definition, an HAI occurs when a patient develops an infection he did not have prior to being inside the health care environment. Thirteen percent of these fatalities result from a Surgical Site Infection (SSI), which involve the building Operating Room environment including its HVAC system. Some estimate that 10-20% of SSIs are acquired as airborne infections carried through the duct system or caused by HVAC distribution. Regardless of the exact numbers, it is clear that due diligence must be paid when designing and installing Operating Rooms (ORs) and their support systems.

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