sterile fields in operating room


  1. If a case is postponed, how long can you keep the sterile field intact before it is considered contaminated? Plese give references of information
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   christyorrn
    Originally posted by pcoburn:

    If a case is postponed, how long can you keep the sterile field intact before it is considered contaminated? Plese give references of information
    According to Alexander's Care of the Patient in Surgery, "preparation of sterile setups hours before needed and covering of setups with sterile sheets are not acceptable for two reasons: setups are left unguarded and prey to sources of contamination, and removal of cover sheets w/o contamination is impossible. Therefore, sterile fields should be prepared as colse as possible to scheduled time of use. If sterile setups are left unguarded or covered, they should be considered contaminated."
    Your hospital should have P&P on this matter. At the hospital I work, P&P states that if the patient is not in the room, setups are considered unsterile after two hours. Hope this helps.
    Christy Thompson, RN, BSN



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    Christy Thompson, RN,BSN
  4. by   TravelingTexan
    One hospital I worked in made a habit of "sealing the room" if this situation arose. Tape across the door prohibiting entry with a sign on the door reading "do not enter - sterile set up", until proceeding with the case within the alloted time or until the case was cancelled, which ever came first.
  5. by   anglgrl63
    If the case is delayed we try not to use it after one hour-two hours maximum. We lock the substerile door and tape the front door with writing saying "Do not enter!" or have someone in the room or just outside to monitor and make sure that no one messes with the room or goes in.

    If they case is going to be delayed too long we might try and use that room for another case that is similiar to the one that was opened and set up.

  6. by   armyrn
    Someone must observe the sterile field at all times, after 2 hours it should be considered contaminated, even if no contamination is observed. That's just what we do though. Anyone from Oklahoma what happened to the Sooners today! So sad.
  7. by   mud
    In our OR, when we are pstponed, say to something vital being contaminated by a tear, it can take up to one and a half hours to get the needed item returned, we then dismantle this set-up. We never cover a set up.
  8. by   reet pteet
    I am a sister in a gynae/general theatre and have been asked to go to mat theatre to up grade their scrub tec, not looking forward to this any advuce.
  9. by   inspir8tion
    We do not set up (open) until the pt is in the room. Once pt is in the room, everything is open and set up. If after that, the case is cancelled, everything is thrown away.
  10. by   shodobe
    Quote from inspir8tion
    We do not set up (open) until the pt is in the room. Once pt is in the room, everything is open and set up. If after that, the case is cancelled, everything is thrown away.
    The noise is a problem with me. Old school, never open instruments or anything while the patient is being induced. Hearing is enhanced and isn't good for the patient. Time also seems to be a problem when waiting to open after the patient is in the room. Seems a waste of time.
  11. by   RNOTODAY
    Quote from armyrn
    Someone must observe the sterile field at all times, after 2 hours it should be considered contaminated, even if no contamination is observed. That's just what we do though. Anyone from Oklahoma what happened to the Sooners today! So sad.
    We were taught this too, and I dont understand it. I mean, what about the cases that are more than 2 hours? After 2 hours into the case, should the stuff be considered contaminated? I just dont understand the rationale forn that one:uhoh21: Anybody have a good scientific reason for me?
  12. by   passionate
    I have always worked in an AORN standardized OR setting. There was a time that we covered out set-ups with sterile drape sheets. Now we don't Evidence based practice is followed.
  13. by   passionate
    I don't but I know that AORN would.
  14. by   passionate
    I have never opened a room in the presence of a patient unless it was an emergency and I was scrambling to get my set up going. I don't understand opening with a patient in the room. As a circulator I have a patient to focus on directly. I too was taught to keep the noise level down, especially during induction and reverse of general anesthesia. If a pt. is under a ketamine anes. then noise is a real concern.

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