In this study, a mechanical model was applied in order to replicate potential surgical fire conditions in an oxygen-enriched environment with and without high-volume suction typical for dental surgical applications. During 41 trials, 3 combustion events were measured: an audible pop, a visible flash of light, and full ignition. In at least 11 of 21 trials without suction, all 3 conditions were observed, sometimes with an extent of fire that required early termination of the experimental trial. By contrast, in 18 of 20 with-suction trials, ignition did not occur at all, and in the 2 cases where ignition did occur, the fire was qualitatively a much smaller, candle-like flame. Statistically comparing these 3 combustion events in the no-suction versus with-suction trials, ignition (P = .0005), audible pop (P = .0211), and flash (P = .0092) were all significantly more likely in the no-suction condition. These results suggest a possible significant and new element to be added to existing surgical fire safety protocols toward making surgical fires the "never-events" they should be.
- High-volume suction
- Oxygen-enriched environments
- Surgical fires
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine