Chemical and Microbial Contaminants of Medical Air in Healthcare Institutions
Administration of supplemental oxygen through medical air is a life-supporting measure essential for the management of severe primary respiratory conditions as well as secondary lung injury due to systemic insults such as trauma and sepsis. This medical air is often produced on site through devices which draw, compress and filter outside air in order to redirect it into buildings. However, depending on the outdoor conditions, the state of the ventilation system or the presence of microorganisms, this air can be contaminated. We propose a multi-disciplinary, cross-sector approach leveraging expertise from the academic fields of engineering and microbiology in collaboration with Air Liquide to characterize the extent of any contamination present, knowledge needed to ultimately help shape programs to develop and evaluate mitigation strategies. This work will provide significant insights into potential patient exposure to chemical and microbial contamination of medical air with implications for patient outcomes. It will also help Air Liquide to improve their service offer, the quality of their product and upgrade their filtration protocols.