Surgical gown fabrics are categorized for liquid penetration resistance by standard tests under specified laboratory conditions, which can be different from the conditions encountered in the surgical environment. The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of temperature and challenge liquid (CL) type on the effectiveness of liquid penetration resistance of surgical gown fabrics.
One disposable and one reusable surgical gown fabric were tested for liquid penetration using standard methods required in American Society for Testing Materials F2407 for classifying the materials used in Levels 1‐3 surgical gowns. Standard test conditions were compared to varied conditions of ambient/fabric temperature (AFT), CL type and challenge liquid temperature (CLT). Analysis of variance was used to determine the effects of variables on liquid penetration.
AFT, CL type and CLT were significant (p<0.05) variables for liquid penetration for at least one of the test fabrics. Higher ambient temperature, fabric and liquid temperature conditions resulted in greater liquid penetration. Use of synthetic blood as the CL resulted in higher liquid penetration than observed with distilled water.
Results suggest that temperatures within the range of body heat or ambient surgical environments are sufficient to affect liquid penetration of surgical gown fabrics. Also, the use of CLs other than distilled water and the use of CLs warmed to body temperature may be needed to accurately assess the liquid penetration resistance of surgical gown fabrics. Level of protection afforded by surgical gowns may be compromised by variability in these conditions.
Conventional wisdom has held that differences between standard testing temperatures and body temperature or ambient temperature in the surgical theatre were insufficient to influence liquid penetration. This study has shown otherwise. No previous studies were found that addressed these variables but our study illustrates their effect on selected materials.
Cao, W. and Cloud, R. (2010), "Effects of temperature on liquid penetration performance of surgical gown fabrics", International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 319-332. https://doi.org/10.1108/09556221011071794Download as .RIS
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