English surgeon Sir John Charnley pioneered hip replacement surgery in the 1960s. However, the huge number of wound infection cases drove him to look into how to reduce bacterial contamination during surgery. He developed an enclosure around the operating zone into which filtered air could be passed. This was then improved to deliver better air handling and incorporate a diffusion system that allowed the passage of a larger flow of ventilated air.
Since his ground-breaking work, laminar airflow, or the use of a directional flow of air to create a clean zone over the patient during orthopaedic surgery, has dramatically reduced post-operative infection rates in hospitals throughout the world. In the MAT ECO-flow ultraclean ventilation (UCV) system, laminar flow has given way to graded exponential airflow, which is even more efficient at keeping the air around the patient and surgical team free from dangerous pathogens.
Ventilation in operating suites
DV4 ventilation in operating departments
HTM 2025 Ventilation in Healthcare Facilities
HTM 03-01 Specialised Ventilation for Healthcare Premises
HTM 03-01 Specialised Ventilation for Healthcare Premises – Updated
An open wound can present the ideal place for germs to settle and breed, causing infection. MAT’s ECO-flow ultraclean ventilation (UCV) system is a proven and effective way to clean the air in operating theatres, supporting good working practices and theatre design and dramatically reducing the risks of surgical site infection (SSI).
We know that UCV works. HTM 03-01 confirms that the link between surgical site infection and theatre air quality is well established:
Remote fans with low level recirculation
Integral fans with air curtain
Integral fans with side walls
Expert opinion suggests that costs can be as high as £20,000 per surgical site infection for complex surgery and up to £14,000 for more general surgery. It has been estimated that the total cost to the NHS is around £700m a year. Treatment of patients with SSI also reduces the capacity to treat other patients, creating a further inefficiency.
From these figures, it’s clear that the costs of revisionary surgery to treat SSI can far exceed the cost of the original surgery, as well as causing untold stress for patients and possible future health concerns.
On this basis alone, a UCV canopy more than pays for itself, with purchase and running costs offset against the money saved by lower post-operative SSI rates, less revisionary surgery and shorter hospital stays.
At MAT, we are proud to be part of the history and ongoing evolution of ultraclean technology.
We are very happy with the work carried out by MAT. Throughout the project, we appreciated the benefits of working with a company with such a thorough understanding of surgical site infection and a portfolio of products designed to address it.”
Andrew Jones: Director of Hospital Services, Fairfield Independent Hospital
MAT is large enough to cope with any issues but small enough to care, and this was evident throughout. It was a pleasure to work with MAT and the team that was assembled for the project at LSHTM, and we hope to have the opportunity to work together again.”
John Starmer: Estates Director, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine