Improvement of air quality in health-care settings

The improvement of air quality in hospitals, clinics and other health-care settings is a vital constituent of modern airborne hygiene procedures. It is also of importance with regard to occupational health and safety requirements in medical institutions. Air cleaning provides a healthier and more pleasant environment for patients, staff and visitors. It also makes economic sense due to its relevance as a preventative infection control measure.

Air filtration requirements vary by department

The air quality requirements in health-care settings vary from department to department and often even from room to room. Some areas will require high-efficiency filtration of airborne microorganisms to protect patients, staff and visitors (e.g. in operation suites, Intensive Care Units (ICU), Tuberculosis (TB) isolation rooms), whereas other areas require the filtration of gaseous contaminants, chemicals and odours to provide a safer and more pleasant working environment (e.g., in laboratories, autopsy rooms, dental surgery rooms, pharmacies) as well as controlling gases that cause corrosion in PCBs and motherboards of highly sensitive equipment such as CT Scan, MRI and CATHLAB equipment among others.

The control of airborne microorganisms (e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungal spores) is of major importance in medical settings due to the fact that a number of diseases and infections can be transmitted by airborne pathogens.

Infections are a concern

Of particular concern are nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections. They can have serious consequences in terms of increased patient mortality, morbidity, length of hospital stay and overall costs. Immunocompromised patients (such as organ and bone-marrow transplant recipients, oncology and haematology patients) are especially at risk as their immune systems are more vulnerable to infectious pathogens, such as aspergillus.

IQAir also offers environmental control of chemical compounds and odours through filtration of ambient air, creation of pressure differentials (containment of chemical compounds and unpleasant odors through negative pressure areas) and through source capture (capture and filtration of chemical compounds and unpleasant odors at their source).

Health-Care Applications of IQAir® Systems

Thanks to their decentralised nature, patented modular design and unique adaptability, IQAir systems cover a broad spectrum of applications in health-care facilities.

  • Ante rooms
  • Bone marrow transplant units
  • Burn units
  • Computer and data storage areas
  • Critical-care facilities
  • Dental areas
  • Emergency rooms
  • Filtered fresh air ventilation
  • General air cleansing
  • Geriatric and elderly care units
  • Hematology
  • ICUs
  • Laser surgery fume and odour control
  • Microbiology labs
  • Neonatal intensive care units
  • Odor sensitive areas
  • Oncology wards
  • Operation theaters
  • Organ transplant wards
  • Pathology theaters
  • Pediatric isolation rooms
  • Pharmacies
  • Respiratory sensitivities and dusty areas
  • Smoking areas
  • TB-isolation wards and ante rooms
  • Toilet facilities

IQAir systems can be used in a number of ways to help provide the most appropriate air cleaning solution for the specific application at hand:

Filtration by recirculation: Repeatedly drawing ambient room air through a floor or wall-mounted IQAir system, thus removing airborne microorganisms with each passing of the air through the filters.

Creating pressure differences: The strategy of recirculating room air through a high-efficiency filter can be further enhanced by creating positive or negative pressure differences between spaces – for example, preventing airflow from a contaminated space to a non-contaminated space.

Positive pressure: In the case of immunocompromised individuals, the patient should be placed in a room with a higher (i.e., positive) air pressure, thus limiting the flow of contaminated air into the patient's room.

Negative pressure: On the other hand, when a patient carries a contagious disease that may be transmitted through the air, such as M. tuberculosis, the opposite strategy (i.e., negative pressure) should be adopted to prevent contaminants from spreading beyond the patient's room. With the help of special ducting adapters (InFlow™, OutFlow™), any IQAir system can be transformed to create positive- or negative-pressure environments. As a result, a room can be pressurised or depressurised within minutes, helping to control the spread of airborne pathogens.

Source capture: It is the purpose of IQAir source capture devices (FlexVac™ and VM FlexVac™) to filter contaminants at their point of origin, thus capturing the pollutants before they are able to disperse into the ambient room air.