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Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital - a breath of fresh air

HEPA filtration in high risk areas of hospitals such as operating theatres has been an industry standard for many years. Bacteria, viruses and other airborne particulate matter pose significant health risks and challenges to the health of patients and medical professionals.

However, the treatment of contaminated air in moderate risk areas including recovery suites, neo natal wards, and oncology wards has received far less focus. This is generally because, the pressure and energy consequences of extending conventional HEPA filtration have often proved insurmountable. This mindset can now change.

This technology has been demonstrated to be able to match the performance of HEPA filtration with only 50% of the pressure drop (<110 pascals). Consequently a viable solution for moderate risk zones can now be delivered without fan upgrades.

At a recent installation in the Post Surgical Recovery Suite at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, this hypothesis was proven. An independent study by researchers at the University of Adelaide, demonstrated the significant improvement in air quality compared with the existing MERV-13 filter.

Figure 1. Table Taken from “Report of the Plasma Shield Intervention Trial in the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Recovery Suite” Dino Pisaniello-Adjunct Professor in Occupational and Environmental Hy-giene School of Public Health, University of Adelaide, 16 February 2024


The results showed a reduction in bioaerosols, including a 94% drop of virus like particles and an 87% drop of bacteria like particles.

In the long range virus exposure scenario (>2 m), these results are similar to the impact of a medical professional wearing a surgical mask throughout an entire shift.

This was confirmed with complementary particle measuring equipment, indicating that the performance of the Plasma Shield system is matching or exceeding the HEPA filtration standard.


Global best practice for reducing the risk of dis-ease transmission through exposure to infectious aerosols is governed by ASHRAE Standard 241.

The Standard 241 provides the ability to substitute actual outdoor air with an Equivalent Clean Airflow. Plasma Shield facilitated nearly 100% clean air provision using this method without incurring the associated HVAC infrastructure and operational costs.

The installation is a great example of how the Plasma Shield can be retrofitted to an existing air handling unit to deliver significant improvements in indoor air quality.

The modular configuration provided flexibility to conventional filters, so that retrofitting could occur seamlessly and cost effectively.

"Expectations for high standards of microbial stewardship in hospitals are ever increasing. Now we can have Operating Theatre quality air in areas where it was prohibitive previously"

Dr Chris McGowan, Former SA Health Chief Executive

To hear more about this study, please join our PD Lunch + Learn Webinar Weds 24th April

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