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Noise Levels in Modern Operating Rooms During Surgery


To determine if differences in noise levels exist in the cardiac operating room at various critical points.


Prospective, nonrandomized study.


Cardiac operating rooms of a university hospital.


Cardiac surgical patients.




The noise level was monitored in the operating room for 23 patients undergoing cardiac surgery requiring general anesthesia during room setup, induction, skin incision, 60 minutes after surgical incision, termination of extracorporeal circulation, emergence (drapes down), and transport.


At each data point (induction, emergence, termination of extracorporeal circulation, emergence [drapes down], and transport), noise levels were louder than the baseline reference at room setup, surgical skin incision, and 60 minutes into the surgery.


The aim of this study was to compare the level of noise in the operating room at times determined critical for anesthesiologists compared with other surgical periods. This study consistently showed that noise in the operating room is louder during the critical anesthesia components of the case. Several studies have found that the loudest sound levels recorded in an operating room are related to the use of particular surgical tools, which are not used typically during the induction and emergence from anesthesia. This suggests that the increased sound levels during these periods may be somewhat controllable by the health care providers in the room.

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