The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a safety communication containing several recommendations to reduce the occurrence of surgical fires.

Read more: Recommendations to Reduce Surgical Fires and Related Patient Injury: FDA Safety Communication

According to the FDA’s Safety Communication,

Most surgical fires occur in oxygen-enriched environments, when the concentration of oxygen exceeds 30 percent. When supplemental oxygen is delivered to a patient in an operating room, an oxygen-enriched environment can be created. An open oxygen delivery system, such as nasal cannula or mask, presents a greater risk of fire than a closed delivery system, such as a laryngeal mask or endotracheal tube. In an oxygen-enriched environment, materials that may not normally burn in room air can ignite and burn.

Specifically, the FDA recommended…

  • Conducting a fire risk assessment at the beginning of each surgical procedure (Note: AORN has some excellent resources on conducting a fire risk assessment — access requires AORN membership)
  • Improving communication among surgical team members by discussing potential ignition sources
  • Taking precautions when administering oxygen, especially when using ignition sources around the head/neck/chest
  • Taking precautions when using flammable prep solutions
  • Developing a plan and practicing how to manage a surgical fire.

To learn more about these recommendations or access additional resources, see the full FDA Safety Communication.

If you have concerns about safety risks in your organization and would like to talk about some leading practices in fire prevention in surgery, contact Compass at (513) 241.0142, via email, or via our contact page to discuss how we can partner with your organization toward a goal of safe, quality care.

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