Electrocautery smoke exposure and efficacy of smoke evacuation systems in minimally invasive and open surgery: a prospective randomized study.

Kocher, Gregor J; Koss, Abigail R; Groessl, Michael; Schefold, Joerg C; Luedi, Markus M; Quapp, Christopher; Dorn, Patrick; Lutz, Jon; Cappellin, Luca; Hutterli, Manuel; Lopez-Hilfiker, Felipe D; Al-Hurani, Mohammad; Sesia, Sergio B (2022). Electrocautery smoke exposure and efficacy of smoke evacuation systems in minimally invasive and open surgery: a prospective randomized study. Scientific reports, 12(1), p. 4941. Springer Nature 10.1038/s41598-022-08970-y

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Worldwide, health care professionals working in operating rooms (ORs) are exposed to electrocautery smoke on a daily basis. Aims of this study were to determine composition and concentrations of electrocautery smoke in the OR using mass spectrometry. Prospective observational study at a tertiary care academic center, involving 122 surgical procedures of which 84 were 1:1 computer randomized to smoke evacuation system (SES) versus no SES use. Irritating, toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic VOCs were observed in OR air, with some exceeding permissible exposure limits (OSHA/NIOSH). Mean total concentration of harmful compounds was 272.69 ppb (± 189 ppb) with a maximum total concentration of harmful substances of 8991 ppb (at surgeon level, no SES). Maximum total VOC concentrations were 1.6 ± 1.2 ppm (minimally-invasive surgery) and 2.1 ± 1.5 ppm (open surgery), and total maximum VOC concentrations were 1.8 ± 1.3 ppm at the OR table 'at surgeon level' and 1.4 ± 1.0 ppm 'in OR room air' away from the operating table. Neither difference was statistically significant. In open surgery, SES significantly reduced maximum concentrations of specific VOCs at surgeon level, including aromatics and aldehydes. Our data indicate relevant exposure of health care professionals to volatile organic compounds in the OR. Surgical technique and distance to cautery devices did not significantly reduce exposure. SES reduced exposure to specific harmful VOC's during open surgery.Trial Registration Number: NCT03924206 (clinicaltrials.gov).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gastro-intestinal, Liver and Lung Disorders (DMLL) > Clinic of Thoracic Surgery
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > Clinic of Intensive Care
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Dermatology, Urology, Rheumatology, Nephrology, Osteoporosis (DURN) > Clinic of Nephrology and Hypertension
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Unit Childrens Hospital > Forschungsgruppe Nephrologie / Hypertonie

UniBE Contributor:

Kocher, Gregor, Grössl, Michael, Schefold, Jörg Christian, Lüdi, Markus, Quapp, Christopher Siegbert, Dorn, Patrick, Lutz, Jon Andri, Sesia, Sergio Bruno


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Springer Nature




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Date Deposited:

25 Mar 2022 10:45

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:16

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