[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 6-Oct-2009
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Contact: Matt Daigle
newsroom@entnet.org
703-535-3754
American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Electrosurgical devices, lasers cited as most common igniters of operating room fires

New research released at world's largest ENT meeting

San Diego, CA While operating room fires can occur in a variety of clinical settings, it is the use of lasers and electrosurgical devices that are most likely to cause them. Those are the findings in new research presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in San Diego, CA.

The study's authors discovered that among a group of 349 otolaryngologists, a quarter (25.2%) had at least witnessed an operating room fire during the course of their career, and several had witnessed multiple fires (sometimes as many as five). A large majority of the fires (81%) occurred when supplemental oxygen was being used, and the most common sources of ignition were electrosurgical units (59%), lasers (32%), and light cords (7%).

In order to minimize the risk of fire, the authors conclude that surgeons, particularly otolaryngologists (because of the nature of the surgical procedures they perform), must familiarize themselves with the common scenarios in which fires might occur.

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Title: What Causes Operating Room Fires?
Author: Lee P. Smith, MD and Soham Roy, MD
Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2009, 10:30-11:50 am

Information for the Media: The AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO Newsroom will be located in the San Diego Convention Center, Mezzanine Level, Room 14A. Hours of operation: Saturday, October 3, 12 pm to 5 pm; Sunday-Tuesday, October 4- 6, 7:30 am to 5 pm; and Wednesday, October 7, 7:30 am to 2 pm (all hours Pacific time). The newsroom serves as a work space for credentialed members of the news media. The newsroom is managed and staffed by the AAO-HNS Communications Unit. Please see the AAO-HNS website for media credentialing requirements for the event.

Onsite Newsroom contact: 1-619-525-6202

About the AAO-HNS

The American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (http://www.entnet.org), one of the oldest medical associations in the nation, represents more than 12,000 physicians and allied health professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ears, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. The Academy serves its members by facilitating the advancement of the science and art of medicine related to otolaryngology and by representing the specialty in governmental and socioeconomic issues. The organization's vision: "Empowering otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons to deliver the best patient care."



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