Objectivized evaluation of surgeons exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields – In the context of exposure duration and polish and new international requirements regarding workers protection
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Centralny Instytut Ochrony Pracy - Państwowy Instytut Badawczy / Central Institute for Labour Protection - National Research Institute, Warszawa, Poland (Pracownia Zagrożeń Elektromagnetycznych / Laboratory of Electromagnetic Hazards)
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Jolanta Karpowicz   

Pracownia Zagrożeń Elektromagnetycznych, Centralny Instytut Ochrony Pracy – Państwowy Instytut Badawczy, ul. Czerniakowska 16, 00-701 Warszawa
Med Pr Work Health Saf. 2013;64(4):487-501
Background: Use of electro surgery units (ESU) in surgeries is linked with electromagnetic field emission, which is assessed according to the requirements of occupational health and safety legislation. Material and Methods: Surgeons' exposure characteristics was monitored during 11 surgeries (proctectomy, patency of artery, hepatectomy, cystectomy, tonsilectomy, laparoscopy) by real time of monopolar ESU activity recorder. Investigations of root-mean-square value of electric and magnetic field strength was also performed at various modes of ESU operations during cutting (output power, 55-150 W; frequency, 330-445 kHz) and coagulating (40-240 W, 335-770 kHz). Statistical parameters of distribution of ESU operation over any 6-min periods (according to international requirements regarding protection against adverse thermal effects of electromagnetic field) were assessed. Results: Electric field strength, measured 10 cm from the cable supplying an active electrode was 147-675 V/m during cutting and 297-558 V/m during coagulating; magnetic field strength was less than 0.2 A/m in both modes. Monitoring of ESUs showed the following ranges of their operation during surgeries 5-66% of time over starting 3 min of surgery, 3-40% over starting 6 min, and the distribution of their use over any 6-min periods 0-12% (median) / 7-43% (maximum value). Conclusions: The real operation time of ESUs wykoduring surgeries was significantly shorter than that declared by workers. The distance of at least 15 cm between cables, connecting electrodes with generator and workers meets the requirements of the Polish legislation on permissible exposure limits. The assessment of localized exposure of the hand needs a detailed analysis of the SAR ratio distribution and further studies are required. Med Pr 2013;64(4):487–501
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