The role of the operating room environment in the development of deep sepsis after total hip arthroplasty was studied at four centers. The incidence of deep sepsis after 5,865 total hip arthroplasties performed in the four centers varied from 0.5% to 2.3%. Procedures performed in a conventional operating room were associated with the highest incidence of deep sepsis (1.3%). The use of a vertical, unidrectional airflow system with a helmet aspirator suite was associated with the lowest incidence of deep sepsis (0.6%). Although patients with previous hip surgery had an increased incidence of deep sepsis regardless of the operating room environment, those procedures performed in a vertical, unidrectional facility had a lower incidence of deep sepsis. Newer techniques designed for the reduction of airborne contamination of the operative wound seem to reduce the incidence of deep-wound sepsis after total hip arthroplasty, especially in patients with previous hip surgery.
. 1979 Jul;114(7):803-4.