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Auditory signals in operating rooms soundscape: A-139

Bourgeon, L.; Cazalaà, J.-B.; Valot, C.; Guillaume, A.

European Journal of Anaesthesiology: May 2005 - Volume 22 - Issue - p 38–39
Ambulatory Anaesthesia

Department of Sciences Cognitives, Institut de Médecine Aérospatiale du Service de, Brétigny sur Orge, France

Background and Goal of Study: Warning signals in operating room are often denounced by anaesthetists as too numerous and then as a nuisance (1). The goal of the study is to observe the part of the auditory signals of anaesthetic equipments in the operating room soundscape.

Materials and Methods: Observations have been realised in three hospitals (A, B, C) during sixteen surgical operations (5 in A, 5 in B and 3 in C). We used a video camera to record occurences and timings of the auditory signals. An observer noted nature of signals distinguishing anaesthetic equipements (An. eq.) from non-anaesthetic equipments (N-an. eq).

Results and Discussion: Mean auditory signal occurences per hour (±SD) are shown as a function of signal category and hospital in the Table:



For the three hospitals, N-an eq signals represented more than the third of all the auditory signals with a large part from surgical signals that cannot be reduced. Concerning the An-eq signals, soundscapes were different among the three hospitals (p < 0.001). We observed less warning signals in Hospital A than in the others but the total of An-eq signals was greater than in the other hospitals. This is due to the working of its recent anaesthetic equipment that was designed to decrease warning signals but leads paradoxically to a high increase of the auditory signals in the operating room with recording data signals (EK, RD).

Conclusion: N-an eq signals represent a large part of the soundscape in the operating room. Then, An-eq designers must be careful not to increase the number of auditory signals when trying to decrease warning signals.

Acknowledgement: This work was supported by DCSSA.

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1 Edworthy J et al. Med. Eng. Phys. 1994; 16: 445-449.
© 2005 European Society of Anaesthesiology