Fires from defibrillation during oxygen administration

| 30/10/2008
Instalaciones Protección contra incendios Tecnología Equipamiento Médico Áreas quirúrgicas y de obstetricia UVI Documentación Documentos Fires from defibrillation during oxygen administration

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Health Devices, jul 1994;23(7):307-8

ECRI continues to receive reports and investigate incidents of patients and their bedding being set on fire during defibrillation. In these cases, defibrillation was performed in the presence of oxygen administration devices, which are necessary in resuscitation attempts and which inherently spill excess oxygen. This oxygen enriches the space around the patient's head and chest and allows an electric arc sometimes produced during defibrillation discharge to ignite body hair. The fire flashes rapidly over the patient, consuming body hair and igniting nearby bedding materials and medical devices.

ECRI has discussed this problem in Health Devices twice previously; see the Hazard Report "Defibrillation in Oxygen-enriched Environments" (16[3-4]:113-4, Mar-Apr 1987) and the Consultant's Corner article "Electrical Equipment during Oxygen Administration" (9[2]:47-8, Dec 1979). Also, the medical literature includes references to this hazard as early as 1972. However, even though the problem has been recognized for a long time, incidents of fire during defibrillation in oxygen-enriched atmospheres (OEAs) continue to occur. This suggests that the ignition danger during defibrillation has been forgotten or ignored?or was never learned?and must be periodically reemphasized to minimize the incidence of this kind of fire.

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