Masters Theses


"Post-operative infections are a recognized problem in the medical and hospital professions. Annual costs and deaths due to infections in the U.S.A. have been estimated at $8-$9 billion and 10,000 lives respectively. The air lS one potential path in transporting contaminants that may cause an infection. Yet, the degree of influence airborne contaminants have in causing infections is a topic of much debate. As a result of the need for more information in this area, this investigation was undertaken to determine the degree of correlation between post-operative infection rates, bacteria in the air, and air flow rates.

Data for the analysis was obtained from twenty-four independent, published studies that examined air flow rates, bacteria in the air and infection rates. A total of 85 individual experiments are included in the 24 studies.

Spearman's Rank Correlation Coefficient and Kendall's Rank Correlation Coefficient non-parametric, statistical tests were applied to the data to determine the correlation coefficients and their statistical significance. Three cases were examined under each test: infection rate v.s. bacteria counts; infection rates v.s. air flow rates; and air flow rates v.s. bacteria counts.

A .78 correlation coefficient was found between bacteria/cu.ft.air and post-operative infection rates; a .94 correlation coefficient between post-operative infection rates and air changes/hr.; and a .79 correlation coefficient between air changes/hr. and bacteria/ cu.ft.air.

These results, based on the data used, indicate a strong relationship between: a) the ability of air flow systems to remove bacteria from the air; b) the influence of bacteria in the air on post-operative infection rates, and; c) the role of air flow systems in minimizing post-operative infection rates"--Abstract, pages ii-iii.


Wiebe, Henry Allen

Committee Member(s)

Partain, Leon
Carmichael, Ronald L., 1921-2006


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Engineering Management


University of Missouri--Rolla

Publication Date



ix, 88 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 43-48).


© 1973 Carl Eugene Intag, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Nosocomial infections -- Epidemiology
Cross infection -- Epidemiology
Surgery -- Complications

Thesis Number

T 2891

Print OCLC #


Electronic OCLC #