At the Vancouver General Hospital the effectiveness of the system for decontamination of anaesthetic equipment was evaluated to determine the need for bacterial filters on anaesthetic machines.
Two groups of patients were studied. Group I consisted of 33 patients, none of whom had clinical symptoms of respiratory tract disease. Group II consisted of 17 patients who had lower respiratory tract secretions. In the latter group 16 had chronic bronchitis and one had cystic fibrosis.
Of 550 bacterial cultures taken from the anaesthetic equipment immediately before and after anaesthesia in our 50 patients, only five yielded a growth of non-pathogenic bacteria.
The results of this study indicate that bacterial colonization of anaesthetic equipment is of a low order and is adequately controlled by pasteurization even after use in patients with chronic lower respiratory tract disease. The use of bacterial filters does not appear justified if a strict regimen of cleaning and pasteurization is followed.