Newly Published
Correspondence  |   August 2019
Operating Room Fires: Comment
Author Notes
  • Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. jan.ehrenwerth@yale.edu
  • (Accepted for publication July 12, 2019.)
    (Accepted for publication July 12, 2019.)×
Article Information
Correspondence
Correspondence   |   August 2019
Operating Room Fires: Comment
Anesthesiology Newly Published on August 9, 2019. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002922
Anesthesiology Newly Published on August 9, 2019. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000002922
I read with interest the recent article by Jones et al.1 titled “Operating Room Fires.”1  As someone who has a longstanding interest in this subject, I was pleased to see the publication of this excellent review. However, I would like to clarify a couple of statements published in the article.
At the beginning of the article, the authors state that operating room fires occur at least 650 times annually. The reference for this is an article on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. However, careful analysis of this reference shows that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (Silver Spring, Maryland) is citing a study from the Emergency Care Research Institute (Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania) published in 2009. This data is now 10 yr old. Currently, the Emergency Care Research Institute estimates that in 2012 there were 200 to 240 operating room fires, and in 2018, that number had decreased to 90 to 100 (personal verbal communication, June 2019, with Scott Lucas, Ph.D., P.E., director, Accident and Forensic Investigation, Emergency Care Research Institute). Similarly, in figure 1 the authors show an increasing incidence of fires between 2006 and 2016. Again, this is not consistent with current data. In 2018, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) published a report that stated there has been “a statistically significant (P < 0.001) reduction in the patient risk of surgical fires of 71% since 2004.”2