Indoor Air Quality in Healthcare Facilities and Healing Environments

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Air Quality and Human Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 August 2021) | Viewed by 15589

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Medical, Surgical Sciences and Advanced Technologies “G.F. Ingrassia”, University of Catania, 95124 Catania, CT, Italy
Interests: environmental health risks by a hygiene and public health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Architecture, Construction Engineering and Built Environment, Politecnico di Milano, 20133 Milano MI, Italy
Interests: indoor air quality; healthcare design; architectures for health
School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
Interests: environmental performance simulation of buildings; energy conscious facade design; synergy between environmental psychology in buildings, facade design and architectural technologies; the impact of building regulations on the environmental performance of buildings

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The healthcare settings’ confined space is a complex and integrated system of multiple risk factors (chemical, physical, and microbiological) interacting with each other, which can lead to altered comfort and health conditions both for patients and healthcare professionals. In recent decades, situations of sensory discomfort and specific pathologies have increased in the occupants of healthcare facilities, highlighting the necessity of environmental quality requirements.

This Special Issue is looking forward to publishing evidence and observations in the field regarding, but not limited to, indoor air quality; chemical, physical, and microbiological contaminants; thermal comfort; and microclimate conditions with regard to healthcare facilities and healing environments.

We welcome the submission of reviews, original research articles, short communications, editorial letters, systematic reviews, and case studies targeting any of these core research questions. 

Dr. Marco Dettori
Dr. Gea Oliveri Conti
Dr. Marco Gola
Dr. Neveen Hamza
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Indoor air quality
  • Microclimate conditions
  • Thermal comfort
  • Chemical air pollution
  • Microbial air pollution
  • Healthcare facilities air quality
  • Hospital air quality
  • Healing settings

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 2878 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Air or Nitrogen Non-Thermal Plasma on Variations of Natural Bioactive Compounds in Djulis (Chenopodium formosanum Koidz.) Seed and the Potential Effects for Human Health
by Bing-Jyh Lu, Tzu-Che Lin, How-Ran Chao, Cheng-Hsian Tsai, Jian-He Lu, Ming-Hsien Tsai, Ching-Tzu Chang, Hao Hsieh, I-Cheng Lu, Rachelle D. Arcega, Wei-Hsiang Chang, Hsiu-Ling Chen, Wan Nurdiyana Wan Mansor and Ying-Chieh Lee
Atmosphere 2021, 12(11), 1375; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12111375 - 21 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1869
Abstract
Non-thermal plasma (NTP) has been widely applied in the food and agricultural industries. It is still unknown whether natural bioactive compounds in seeds are affected by NTP treatment. Our goal was to examine whether the bioactive compounds in djulis (Chenopodium formosanum Koidz.) [...] Read more.
Non-thermal plasma (NTP) has been widely applied in the food and agricultural industries. It is still unknown whether natural bioactive compounds in seeds are affected by NTP treatment. Our goal was to examine whether the bioactive compounds in djulis (Chenopodium formosanum Koidz.) seed are changed after NTP treatment. The betacyanin, anthocyanin, total phenolic content (TPCs), total flavonoids (TFs), 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging effects (DPPH), gallic acid, and rutin were compared in NTP-treated seed and an untreated control. Levels of betacyanin, anthocyanin, and TPCs in the seed were found to be significantly increased after the nitrogen (N2)-NTP treatment compared with the control (p < 0.001). Inversely, the air-NTP treatment significantly weakened the performance of these bioactive compounds in the seed as compared to the control. Levels of TFs in both the air- and N2-NTP treated seed were significantly lower than those in the control (p < 0.001). After the NTP treatment, DPPH was still at high levels, similar to those in the control. The djulis seed extract had antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on THP-1 (human-monocyte-cell line) cells. N2-NTP generated nitrogen reactive species that activated the bioactive compounds in the seed. In contrast, air-NTP produced oxygen and nitrogen reactive species inhibited the expression of these bioactive compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality in Healthcare Facilities and Healing Environments)
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9 pages, 882 KiB  
Article
Microclimatic and Environmental Surveillance of Operating Theaters: Trend and Future Perspectives
by Margherita Ferrante, Gea Oliveri Conti, Giuseppe Lucio Blandini, Giuseppe Cacia, Carlo Distefano, Giulia Distefano, Valerio Mantione, Agata Ursino, Giuseppa Milletari, Maria Anna Coniglio and Maria Fiore
Atmosphere 2021, 12(10), 1273; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12101273 - 30 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1872
Abstract
The health risk level in operating rooms is correlated to the safety levels of microclimatic parameters, thermal indices, anesthetic gases and microbiological parameters. The objective of this study was to estimate the staff and medical service management compliance with the suggestions resulting from [...] Read more.
The health risk level in operating rooms is correlated to the safety levels of microclimatic parameters, thermal indices, anesthetic gases and microbiological parameters. The objective of this study was to estimate the staff and medical service management compliance with the suggestions resulting from monitoring. Methods: The environmental conditions of 38 different operating rooms in the Sicily region, Italy, from January 2011 to December 2020 were monitored. The results were compared with specific standards suggested by national and international laws and guidelines. Results: Almost all microclimatic and microbiological parameters were outside the limits. The monitoring of the anesthetic gases showed that 5.6% of sevoflurane measurements exceeded the limit values. Conclusions: Constant environmental monitoring is an essential element for maintaining optimal living conditions in the working environment. The compliance of staff with guidelines and rules is a fundamental parameter for achieving this objective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality in Healthcare Facilities and Healing Environments)
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12 pages, 1444 KiB  
Article
Microbial Environmental Pollution in ICUs: Results, Trends, and Suggestions from a Long-Lasting Surveillance
by Daniela D’Alessandro, Massimo Fabiani and Letizia Appolloni
Atmosphere 2021, 12(9), 1174; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12091174 - 12 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2047
Abstract
Intensive care units (ICUs) are special areas in hospitals for patients with severe and life-threatening diseases. ICUs are of several categories, such as neonatal ICUs, cardiac ICUs, neurological ICUs, surgical ICUs, etc. The ICUs’ patients may show a high susceptibility for hospital-acquired infections [...] Read more.
Intensive care units (ICUs) are special areas in hospitals for patients with severe and life-threatening diseases. ICUs are of several categories, such as neonatal ICUs, cardiac ICUs, neurological ICUs, surgical ICUs, etc. The ICUs’ patients may show a high susceptibility for hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) depending on underlying disease, duration of stay and treatment. ICUs are considered potential reservoirs for (opportunistic) pathogenic microbial strains and the risk of acquiring infection in these hospital environments is higher than in others. Several studies show the role of inanimate surface and equipment contamination in the transmission of pathogens to ICU patients. The aim of this study is to describe the results of 124 sampling campaigns performed during 12 years of microbiological surveillance of five ICUs of different categories, for an overall number of 714 samples (232 from air and 482 from surface), to analyze their trends and to elaborate suggestions to improve ICUs’ environmental quality and patients’ safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality in Healthcare Facilities and Healing Environments)
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22 pages, 8305 KiB  
Article
Building Performance Evaluation of a New Hospital Building in the UK: Balancing Indoor Environmental Quality and Energy Performance
by Nishesh Jain, Esfand Burman, Samuel Stamp, Clive Shrubsole, Roderic Bunn, Tin Oberman, Edward Barrett, Francesco Aletta, Jian Kang, Peter Raynham, Dejan Mumovic and Mike Davies
Atmosphere 2021, 12(1), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12010115 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 5360
Abstract
Hospitals are controlled yet complex ecosystems which provide a therapeutic environment that promotes healing, wellbeing and work efficiency for patients and staff. As these buildings accommodate the sick and vulnerable, occupant wellbeing and good indoor environmental quality (IEQ) that deals with indoor air [...] Read more.
Hospitals are controlled yet complex ecosystems which provide a therapeutic environment that promotes healing, wellbeing and work efficiency for patients and staff. As these buildings accommodate the sick and vulnerable, occupant wellbeing and good indoor environmental quality (IEQ) that deals with indoor air quality (IAQ), thermal comfort, lighting and acoustics are important objectives. As the specialist nature of hospital function demands highly controlled indoor environments, this makes them energy intensive buildings due to the complex and varying specifications for their functions and operations. This paper reports on a holistic building performance evaluation covering aspects of indoor air quality, thermal comfort, lighting, acoustics, and energy use. It assesses the performance issues and inter-relationships between IEQ and energy in a new building on a hospital campus in the city of Bristol, United Kingdom. The empirical evidence collated from this case study and the feedback received from the hospital staff help identify the endemic issues and constraints related to hospital buildings, such as the need for robust ventilation strategies in hospitals in urban areas that mitigate the effect of indoor and outdoor air pollution and ensuring the use of planned new low-carbon technologies. Whilst the existing guidelines for building design provide useful instructions for the protection of hospital buildings against ingress of particulate matter from outdoors, more advanced filtration strategies may be required to enact chemical reactions required to control the concentration levels of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and benzene. Further lessons for improved performance in operation and maintenance of hospitals are highlighted. These include ensuring that the increasingly available metering and monitoring data in new buildings, through building management systems, is used for efficient and optimal building operations for better IEQ and energy management. Overall, the study highlights the need for an integrated and holistic approach to building performance to ensure that healthy environments are provided while energy efficiency targets are met. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality in Healthcare Facilities and Healing Environments)
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10 pages, 2094 KiB  
Article
Microbial Monitoring as a Tool for Preventing Infectious Risk in the Operating Room: Results of 10 Years of Activity
by Maria Dolores Masia, Marco Dettori, Grazia Maria Deriu, Serena Soddu, Michela Deriu, Antonella Arghittu, Antonio Azara and Paolo Castiglia
Atmosphere 2021, 12(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12010019 - 25 Dec 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3221
Abstract
Environmental microbial contamination in the operating room (OR) can favour contamination of the surgical wound, posing the risk of infection of the surgical site. Thus, environmental monitoring is a useful tool for assessing environmental health and the effectiveness and efficiency of the measures [...] Read more.
Environmental microbial contamination in the operating room (OR) can favour contamination of the surgical wound, posing the risk of infection of the surgical site. Thus, environmental monitoring is a useful tool for assessing environmental health and the effectiveness and efficiency of the measures adopted to control the risk of infection in the OR. This work aimed to analyse the long term environmental quality of 18 ORs throughout Sardinia, Italy, through the quantitative and qualitative characterisation of the microbial flora present in the air and on surfaces, in order to evaluate the trend over time, including in relation to any control measures adopted. The results of the sampling carried out in the period from January 2010 to December 2019 have been extrapolated from the archive-database of the Laboratory of the Hygiene and Control of Hospital Infections Unit of the University Hospital in Sassari. During the period in question, 188 air evaluations were carried out, both in empty rooms and during surgery, and 872 surface samples were taken. When the air was monitored, it emerged that significant contamination was detectable in a reduced number of examinations and a limited number of rooms. Microbial load values higher than the reference values may have been mainly determined by sub-optimal operation/maintenance of the air conditioning system. Surface testing showed a good level of sanitisation, given the low percentage of non-compliant values detected. The possibility of having data available on environmental quality is a useful educational and training tool both for those responsible for sanitisation procedures and the surgical team, in order to increase awareness of the effects of a lack of compliance with behavioural standards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality in Healthcare Facilities and Healing Environments)
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