The impact of surgery on global climate: a carbon footprinting study of operating theatres in three health systems.

Charlotte Holbrook's picture

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This (open access) paper compares the carbon footprint of 3 operating theatres (UK, US and Canada). It is really interesting to see how different institutional practices influence the carbon footprint, once again highlighting the significant reductions achieved by reducing desflurane usage. As Frances Mortimer posted earlier in the week – anaesthetists are in a good position to lead on carbon reduction in theatres!

However, rest of the theatre team need to make an impact too. I rather like this paragraph taken from the discussion:

“Addressing the environmental impacts of the operating theatre will require coordinated multidisciplinary action from the diverse members of the surgical team. Similar to the process by which enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols have expedited and improved recovery after many operations by assimilating and standardising best practices from anaesthesia, surgery, nursing, and other health professionals involved in perioperative care, so too optimisation of operating theatre environmental performance relies upon engagement and innovation from the many players who converge to deliver surgical services. Anaesthetists are positioned to take ownership of a large proportion of the theatre footprint by reducing emissions from volatile agents, whereas HVAC system optimisation falls within the purview of facilities managers and engineers. Surgeons, nurses, perfusionists, and others can influence environmentally preferable purchasing and minimise waste.”

Source: 

Lancet Planet Health

Publication date: 

December, 2017

Resource type: 

  • information resource

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