SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1989

Oxygen-Enriched Fires During Surgery of The Head and Neck


Presented is an overview of ECRI's investigations of intraoperative fires concentrating on oxygen- and nitrous oxide-enriched fires, the common medical devices that act as ignition sources, and the combustible substances that are present during surgery. A comparative evaluation of surgical draping materials, specifically including testing for flame spread rates and ignitability in standard atmospheres and ignitabllity in oxygen-enriched atmospheres, was performed and published by ECRI in 1986. A summary of their flammabllity findings is presented, along with a discussion of the oxygen-enriched atmosphere phenomenon of surface fiber flame propagation on reusable surgical textiles. Recommendations are made for minimizing the risk of surgical fires, including special precautions for prevention of fires from surgical lasers.

Author Information

Bruley, ME
Lavanchy, C
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Developed by Committee: G04
Pages: 392–405
DOI: 10.1520/STP24940S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5095-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1288-9