Volume 8, No. 1 • Spring 1993

OR Noise a Problem; Standards Sought

Steven S. Kron, M.D.

To the Editor

I would like to recommend that the APSF encourage the establishment of standards for noise levels in the OR.

Common sense would dictate that excessive extraneous noise is a detriment to safe anesthesia care. Noise impairs communication among the various anesthesia providers at critical moments of the case as well as between the anesthesia team and the surgeons or nurses; it distorts the ability to hear and interpret audible monitors. Nevertheless, many of us work in an atmosphere charged with decibels. Some of the noise is unavoidable and related to the case. Much of it consists of irrelevant conversation, joke telling, and blaring of the omnipresent stereo with “surround sound”.

Attempts by individual anesthesiologists to control this hazard are usually futile or temporary at best. We need a nationally accepted standard to point to as a reference. The Association of Operating Room Nurses has established a variety of standards which conform to their view of safe patient care. We, as anesthesia providers, would be remiss in our patient-care duty to do any less.

Steven S. Kron, M.D.

New Britain Anesthesia, P.C. New Britain, CT