Room Traffic in Orthopedic Surgery: A Prospective Clinical Observational Study of Time of Day

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High rates of operating room (OR) traffic may contribute to surgical air contamination and surgical site infections (SSIs). The purpose of this study was to evaluate room traffic patterns in orthopedic implant procedures to determine the frequency of door openings and if time of day had an effect on room traffic.


In 2015, OR traffic was assessed in orthopedic implant cases. Room traffic was reported as the number of door openings per minute. Counts of how many people were present in the operating room were noted in 5-minute intervals from the time of sterile case opening to dressing placement. Operative cases were observed and categorized into 3 periods (6:00–9:59, 10:00–13:59, and 14:00–17:59) to assess if time of day affected room traffic.


Forty-six cases were observed for the present study. Among all cases, the mean room traffic rate was 35.2 openings per hour (SD, 10; range, 13.2–60.8). One-way analysis of variance revealed no statistically significant difference among groups (6:00–9:59 [n = 29], 10:00–13:59 [n = 10], and 14:00–17:59 [n = 7]) as it relates door openings per minute (room traffic rate) (P = 0.9237) or mean number of people in the OR (P = 0.3560). Pearson correlation revealed no correlation between case start time and room traffic rates (P = 0.6129, r2 = 0.0059) or between case start time and mean number of people in the OR (P = 0.3435, r2 = 0.0214).


Room traffic rates and mean number of people in the OR do not correlate with time of day of case in orthopedic implant procedures.

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