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Archive Orthopedic Surgery 2016

Fed Up With Fluid Waste?

Capture arthroscopy's runoff before it makes a mess of your ORs.

David Bernard, Senior Associate Editor


portable fluid waste suction device CLOSED COLLECTOR A portable fluid waste suction device is practically the gold standard for arthroscopy cleanup.

The steady stream of irrigation fluid used to distend the joint space during arthroscopic procedures has to go somewhere. Whether it ends up pooling under the feet of your surgical team or effectively contained in a closed collection system is up to you. For the sake of your staff's safety and efficient room turnovers, the following advice can help stem the tide in your ORs.

1 Take preemptive action
Contaminants on the floor are the leading cause of slip, trip and fall incidents in healthcare facilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Falls make up the No. 1 workplace injury that nurses and techs suffer, according to the organization's report on Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention for Healthcare Workers ( The lesson is clear, says NIOSH: Employees who are properly trained and properly equipped to clean up spills as soon as they're discovered will protect themselves from harm.

"Be proactive when using large volumes of irrigation — don't wait until you have wet floors to start collecting runoff," says Dianna Wilson, MSN, RN, CNOR, assistant director of operative services at Alamance Regional Medical Center in Burlington, N.C. "In cases where you have large volumes of fluid waste and take early action to collect it, you don't see slip-and-fall accidents, as opposed to when you don't take precautions and should have."

Ms. Wilson takes a "best defense is a good offense" view and recommends investing in an efficient in-line arthroscopy pump system that automatically reacts to internal pressure changes within the joint and adjusts fluid delivery to limit runoff, even during high-volume cases. "It measures the fluid going in and coming out, so you should have very little excess to deal with," she says.

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