The devil lies in the details and one example of unintended consequences of a small oversight shall be mentioned here. An extensive and shocking analysis of 470 hospital suction regulators used in connection with central vacuum systems found that more than one in three had been colonized 2
Among the potential pathogens found on those regulators are:
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is often multidrug resistant, and which can be deadly for critical care patients.3
- Enterococcus faecium, which is increasingly likely to be vancomycin-resistant, and which is especially virulent for patients with impaired immune systems.4
- Staphylococcus aureus, which causes potentially deadly MRSA, especially when resistant to methicillin.5
Even more alarming? According to the above review 1, pathogens can spread from a suction regulator to a wall-side canister in 30 minutes. From there, they can spread from patient to patient.
But doesn’t cleaning a regulator after it’s been used solve the problem?