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Solutions to Surgical Suite Temperature and Humidity Control
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The demand for lower air temperatures inside the operating room (OR) has placed unrealistic expectations upon existing cued water systems in hospitals. Lower temperatures are required to keep the surgical staff comfortable during extended procedures. Relative humidity (RH) must still be controlled at these lower temperatures per code guidelines and poses a major hurdle for facilities located throughout the southeastern United States. Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment designed to hold space conditions of 72°F and 60% RH is now attempting to hold 65°F and 50% RH or less. The lower temperature and RH reduce the space dew point from 57°F to 46°F (Figure 1). To obtain this lower dew point requires the removal of 33% more moisture from the air (Equation 1). It is this additional moisture removal that has become the concern of health care engineers, facility managers, hospital administrators and surgeons. Desiccant enhanced cooling systems can easily and efficiently achieve both temperature and humidity control within today's surgery suites while avoiding the pitfalls common to low temperature cooling systems.
Crooks, K. W. (1996). Solutions to Surgical Suite Temperature and Humidity Control. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from