Aerosol distribution during open suctioning and long-term surveillance of air quality in a respiratory care center within a medical center

Fen Fang Chung, Hui Ling Lin, Hsueh Erh Liu, Angela Shin Yu Lien, Hsiu Feng Hsiao, Lan Ti Chou, Gwo Hwa Wan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: The investigation of hospital air quality has been conducted in wards, ICUs, operating theaters, and public areas. Few studies have assessed air quality in respiratory care centers (RCCs), especially in mechanically ventilated patients with open suctioning. Methods: The RCC air quality indices (temperature, relative humidity, levels of CO2, total volatile organic compounds, particulate matter [PM], bacteria, and fungi) were monitored over 1 y. The air around the patient's head was sampled during open suctioning to examine the probability of bioaerosol exposure affecting health-care workers. Results: This investigation found that the levels of indoor air pollutants (CO2, PM, bacteria, and fungi) were below the indoor air quality standard set by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile, the levels of total volatile organic compounds sometimes exceeded the indoor air quality standard, particularly in August. The identified bacterial genera includedMicrococcus species, Corynebacterium species, and Staphylococcus species, and the predominant fungal genera included yeast, Aspergillus species,Scopulariopsis species, and Trichoderma species. Additionally, airborne PM2.5, PM1, and bacteria were clearly raised during open suctioning in mechanically ventilated patients. This phenomenon demonstrated that open suctioning may increase the bacterial exposure risk of health-care workers. Conclusions: RCC air quality deserves long-term monitoring and evaluation. Health-care workers must implement self-protection strategies during open suctioning to ensure their occupational health and safety in health-care settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-37
Number of pages8
JournalRespiratory Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Daedalus Enterprises.


  • Bioaerosol
  • Health-care workers
  • Indoor air quality
  • Mechanically ventilated patient
  • Open suctioning
  • Respiratory care center


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