Ultraviolet Light Disinfection Reduces Hospital Infections

TRU-D uses UVC radiation to destroy biological contamination on surfaces and removes biological contamination from the air.

With germs around us every day, the threat of a serious infection of some type is cause for worry. In hospital settings, both patients and their families are concerned about hospital-acquired infections. A new technology is helping put those worries to rest with its ability to eradicate most bacteria and viruses on surfaces and in the air.

The Lumalier patented TRU-D (Total Room Ultraviolet Disinfector) device destroys biological contamination on surfaces and removes biological contamination from the air using UVC bulbs. "UVC radiation has long been used for disinfection and sterilization of air and surfaces, but TRU-D is the first to provide a rapid method of safe and complete germicidal disinfection," says Robert Clifton, sales manager at Red Mountain Imaging/NHD (National Health Distributors) in Pelham.

The TRU-D delivers a germicidal dose of cleansing UV energy to all surfaces of a room, including hard-to-clean, shadowed and often overlooked high-touch surfaces such as electronic keyboards, remotes, and computers. It uses a series of 28 UVC bulbs, each 48 inches tall. The machine directs light where it is needed the most to kill germs.

Germicidal ultraviolet light is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is particularly effective at killing bacterial and viral agents. No known pathogen can withstand prolonged exposure to UVC light, and it is relatively harmless to humans.

Clifton says the TRU-D is fully automated and can be programmed remotely. It is designed to sterilize 360 degrees around the entire machine. According to Lumalier, most contaminated areas can be serviced at a guaranteed three to six log disinfection confidence level in 20 to 30 minutes. Rooms are ready to occupy and use immediately. The complete Lumalier disinfection process includes the removal and elimination of airborne volatile organic compounds, including the removal of airborne chemicals, formaldehydes, and ozone, and provides a calculated, metered disinfection process that eliminates the risk of an improperly cleaned room due to human error.

The non-chemical process also removes the risk to patients with allergies. The intense dose of cleansing UV germicidal energy, provided by the TRU-D prevents the development of antibacterial resistances common with liquid antiseptics. This makes the TRU-D the only cost-effective sterilization solution without any risk of using chemicals which can cause fogging that can corrode electronics and many surfaces.

Tommy Waddell, president of Red Mountain Imaging/NHD, says TRU-D is used primarily in hospitals and surgical centers. Currently, Red Mountain Imaging/'NHD is the only company in Alabama offering this Lumalier product. "The company came to us and wanted to show us the product," he says. "It caught my attention because I know infection rates in hospitals are not good." He adds that after a suite is cleaned by hand, the TRU-D "puts the icing on the cake" by reaching nooks and crannies that are difficult to reach by other means.

A number of hospitals around the country are using TRU-D technology, including Georgetown University Medical Center; Duke University Medical Center; the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Cleveland, OH; Northwester Memorial in Chicago; and Mercy Hospital in Folsom, CA. Luke Chen, MBBS, FRACP, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Duke University says, "The TRU-D device demonstrated consistency and rapidity in killing microorganisms. There is potential to use this technology to rapidly clean and turn around patient rooms, clinic space, or waiting rooms."

Tests have proven that the TRU-D can sterilize an entire room up to or better than operating room standards. One hospital continues to test one of the units in other environments, including a quarantined MRSA patient room that was not cleansed at all prior to the test. According to the test results, the Department of Health had collected 14 positive samples of MRSA from various parts of the room, including the toilet, prior to the disinfection. The results were reviewed after the treatment and showed only one colony forming unit left in the entire room at the bottom of the base of an IV pole. Operating room standards require less than five to remain.

"TRU-D was able to decontaminate all surfaces in 40 hospital rooms, including hard-to-clean surfaces such as the underside of tables," says Curtis Donskey, MD, chair of the Infection Control Committee at the Cleveland VA Medical Center. "Research revealed that disinfection with TRU-D reduced the frequency of positive MRSA and VRE cultures by 89 percent."

Clifton says he expects the TRU-D technology to greatly improve hospital sterilization rates and reduce hospital-acquired infections. "According to an April 2009 Reuters financial analysis, the median hospital profit margin in the U.S. was 0 percent while another source estimates the average at approximately 3 percent. Most hospitals operate on thin margins and recent Medicare changes allow non-payment for 'never events' such as hospital acquired infections," he says. "Bottom line is that hospitals face increased pressure to deliver improved patient outcomes, and TRU-D technology can help reduce hospital acquired infections. That seems to be both good business and good medicine."

For information about TRU-D, contact Red Mountain Imaging/NHD at (205) 663-0230 or 837-2173.



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