Studies show benefit of disinfecting lights: 3 takeaways

Approximately one in 25 hospital patients has at least one hospital-acquired infection on any given day, according to the CDC. In the age of antibiotic resistance, optimizing disinfection protocols is essential to keeping patient's safe and costs down. One method of hospital environment sterilization bolstered by recent research is the use of disinfecting lights.

During the week of Oct. 26, research examining the efficacy of disinfecting lights was displayed at the Infectious Diseases Society of America's conference in New Orleans.

Here are results from three studies on three different types of disinfecting lights.

1. Ultraviolet: In an assessment of four cleaning practices for noncritical items — products that frequently contact the skin, but not mucous membranes — Quat disinfectant used in tandem with UV light to disinfect patient rooms and bathrooms displayed the most potential for preventing infections with pathogens like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant enterococci and Clostridium difficile. The rate of patients experiencing said infections was 2.3 percent in rooms treated with Quat alone, 2.2 percent for rooms treated with bleach and UV light, 1.9 percent for rooms treated with bleach alone and 1.5 percent for rooms treated with Quat and UV light.

2. LED: In a study examining the efficacy of LED light disinfection in the trauma room, researchers found LED disinfecting lights significantly reduced the microbial surface contamination at 15 weeks, even when room usage increased. The results suggest LED disinfection may not produce immediate results, but over time lights displayed effectiveness at reducing the overall microbial contamination in the trauma room.

3. High-intensity narrow spectrum light: In a four-week study, researchers turned on HINSL lights in two intensive care units for two and a half hours daily during weeks two and three. In the first week, researchers found 2,456 colony forming units for Staph species in surfaces of the rooms. In week two, they found 275 units and in week three they only found 14. The number jumped to 1,234 in week four. The results suggest the use of HINSL lights in disinfection protocols may significantly improve HAI prevention efforts.

More articles on infection control: 
Mayo Clinic latest hospital to warn patients of heater-cooler-related infection risks 
Prion disease scare postpones surgeries at Maine Medical Center 
Frozen strawberries-related hepatitis A outbreak sickens 134 people, up from 70 in September

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