Laminar flow reduces cases of surgical site infections in vascular patients

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Numerous strategies are employed routinely in an effort to lower rates of surgical site infections (SSIs). A laminar flow theatre environment is generally used during orthopaedic surgery to reduce rates of SSIs. Its role in vascular surgery, especially when arterial bypass grafts are used, is unknown.


A retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database was undertaken for all vascular procedures performed by a single consultant over a one-year period. Cases were performed, via random allocation, in either a laminar or non-laminar flow theatre environment. Demographic data, operative data and evidence of postoperative SSIs were noted. A separate subgroup analysis was undertaken for patients requiring an arterial bypass graft. Univariate and multivariate logistical regression was undertaken to identify significant factors associated with SSIs.


Overall, 170 procedures were analysed. Presence of a groin incision, insertion of an arterial graft and a non-laminar flow theatre were shown to be predictive of SSIs in this cohort. In the subgroup receiving arterial grafts, only a non-laminar flow theatre environment was shown to be predictive of an SSI.


This study suggests that laminar flow may reduce incidences of SSI, especially in the subgroup of patients receiving arterial grafts.

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