UV air purification linked to lower sepsis rates among cardiac surgery patients

Disinfecting the hospital room environment with an ultraviolet air sterilizer — an air purification system that removes detrimental microbial particles with UV air filters — can reduce the occurrence of sepsis and mortality in cardiac surgery patients, according to a new study presented on Sunday at the 2016 Congress of the Acute Cardiovascular Care Association in Lisbon, Portugal.

For the study, researchers monitored the outcomes of 1,097 patients admitted to intensive care units after undergoing cardiac surgery. Of the patients, 522 were randomly admitted to an ICU sterilized with UV air purification system and 575 were admitted to an ICU without a UV sterilizer.

Patients admitted to ICUs with the UV air purification equipment displayed a sepsis rate of 3.4 percent compared to a 6.7 percent sepsis rate among the non-UV sterilizer cohort.

"Pathogens are transmitted through the air, and by touching skin, clothes, and medical instruments and devices," said lead study author Juan Bustamante Munguira, MD, a physician at the University Hospital La Princesa in Madrid. "Our research shows that the UV air sterilizer was independently associated with lower 30 day in-hospital mortality. The ultraviolet radiation is harmless to humans but kills microorganisms including bacteria, viruses and spores by inactivating their RNA or DNA ... This is a relatively new area of research and a cost effectiveness study in more patients is needed."

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