Surgical fires require an oxygen-enriched environment, a flammable substrate, and an ignition source. We hypothesized ambient oxygen concentration is proportional to the latency time to combustion and the incidence of surgical fires that are detected. We examined latency time and number of events, utilizing the VanCleave et al model of intraoral fire ignition under 60, 80, and 100% oxygen concentration and flow rates of 4 and 10 L/min. Results demonstrated that ambient oxygen concentration and flow rate correlated positively to the initiation of combustion. The number of combustion events with 60% oxygen was significantly lower than with both 80% (p = .0168) and 100% (p = .002). Likewise, the number of events with 80% oxygen was significantly lower than with 100% oxygen (p = .0019). Flow rate has a significant effect on the time to the first event (p = .0002), time to first audible pop (p = .0039), and time to first flash or fire (p < .0001). No combustion occurred at oxygen concentrations less than 60% or flows less than 4 L/min. We conclude that latency time to combustion is directly proportional to ambient oxygen concentration and flow rate. Minimum oxygen concentration and flow rate were identified in our model. Further research is indicated to determine the minimal clinical oxygen concentration and flow rate needed to support combustion of an intraoral fire in a patient.
The Effects of Different Levels of Ambient Oxygen in an Oxygen-Enriched Surgical Environment and Production of Surgical Fires
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Leah B. Davis, Mark A. Saxen, James E. Jones, James D. McGlothlin, Juan F. Yepes, Brian J. Sanders; The Effects of Different Levels of Ambient Oxygen in an Oxygen-Enriched Surgical Environment and Production of Surgical Fires. Anesth Prog 1 March 2018; 65 (1): 3–8. doi: https://doi.org/10.2344/anpr-64-04-12
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