Pioneering microbiological research commissioned by Contour Casings is for the first time beginning to shed light on the levels of potentially harmful bacteria that could be present inside LST radiator covers located in healthcare, education and commercial environments.

Background

The National Audit Office (2000) reports that 1 in 9 patients in European hospitals has at least one healthcare acquired infection, with those individuals spending two and a half times longer in hospital and resulting in higher treatment costs.
An LST radiator cover that has not been cleaned internally, combined with the convection process, work together to form the perfect conditions for the growth and distribution of potentially dangerous bacteria and particles.
Airborne routes have been identified as sources of microbial dissemination for traditional healthcare associated organisms such as MRSA and E.coli.
However, integration of biocides into products at the time of manufacture, in addition to a regular and comprehensive cleaning schedule, can act as an aid to the prevention, proliferation and cross contamination of any contaminating organisms.

Aim of Study

The study explores levels and diversity of bacteria present on a modern LST radiator covers with full-access for cleaning and treated with an anti-microbial coating, compared to a traditional fixed unit, with no internal access and no antimicrobial protection. The impact of a regular internal cleaning regime on bacteria levels was also be highlighted.

Methods

Swabbing samples were collected from internal and external guard locations across a range of traditional, fixed lst radiator covers which have no internal access for cleaning or antimicrobial protection, and modern LST radiator covers which allow for complete internal access for cleaning and which do have antimicrobial technology in their paintwork.

Results

  • All modern treated, full access LST radiator covers displayed a significant reduction in micro-organism levels.
  • When considering all internal surfaces, modern and treated, there was a 91% mean reduction in microbe loading.
  • When all external and internal surfaces of the LST radiator covers were analysed, an 86% mean reduction in microbe loading was reported.
  • When external cover faces only were examined, an 83% mean reduction in microbe loading was identified.
  • When microbe counts on the exposed internal rear wall and emitter are also taken into consideration, overall there is an 82% mean reduction.

Discussion

This data suggests that the difference between the modern, full access, treated LST radiator cover and the untreated, no access unit can be considered significant.
Modern LST radiator cover designs which deliver complete internal access for cleaning, together with integrated antimicrobial technology have been shown to offer an aid to existing hygiene practises.
You can download an infographic which gives a snapshot of the study by clicking here.
For further information on the study, please call; 01952 290 498 or email; [email protected]