Thursday, August 13, 2020

Aegis VacStation Evaluation in Complete

 



In a world affected by a global pandemic, there are a lot of things that have changed.  This is especially true when it comes to the clinical practice of dentistry.  My beloved profession just might be the most aerosol creating profession in healthcare.

Those of you reading this who are in the profession realize this already.  For those of you who are patients, a quick explanation.  Almost everything a dental professional does inside the oral cavity creates a cloud of mist/water/saliva droplets called aerosols.  This is the way SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, travels.  The viral particles float along in this aerosol cloud and can then be inhaled into the nose or mouth of a susceptible host where the virus can then grow and infect that host.  Once a critical load of virus is created inside that susceptible host, viruses can then leave the body through coughing, sneezing, or dentistry.  This is a process called "shedding".  So basically those people working in your mouth are exposing themselves every day to working in a cloud of potentially infective materials.





So how do you get rid of those aerosols?  There are lots of ways to do that which dentists are doing every day.  However, one of the newest approaches is to simply vacuum up those microscopic particles like car floor mat debris into a Dust Buster.

For the past few weeks my office has been working on clinical trials with a device from Aegis PPE called the VacStation.  It is a high powered industrial vac system that is used clinically.  Put in close proximity to the patient's oral cavity, the VacStation quickly and efficiently removes anything air-born that makes it past the patient's lips.

However, simply "pulling" the aerosols away isn't all that the VacStation does.  The device also does an amazing job of filtering the air that passes through it.  


As you can see from the above diagram, the air is vigorously filtered.  This is accomplished by passing it through a HEPA filtration system that does an incredible job of cleansing the air as it passes through.  Studies have shown that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can vary in size from about 120 microns to 30 microns.  The VacStation filtration filters particles down to 20.3 microns in size.  Basically if a SARS-CoV-2 virus goes into the VacStation, isn't coming back out.

Not only does the air pass through a high-fiber cotton filter, a fiberglass filter, and an activated carbon filter, but after passing through all of those, the air is exposed to an array of ultraviolet LEDs.  These LEDs emit light in the wavelength of 280 nanometers.  Light in this wavelength has been proven in multiple studies to kill bacteria and viruses.  In fact some healthcare facilities are using devices with these LEDs top sterilize N-95 masks and other clinical devices.

The device comes equipped with a rheostat that allows the user to vary the speed and vacuum of the unit.  It is well insulated and does not create much sound at all.  One of my biggest concerns was that the device would be loud & would interfere with conversation with the patient. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the VacStation is very quiet and not really intrusive at all.  Even having several units running simultaneously in close proximity to each other would not be an annoyance.  Originally I thought the device would sound like a vacuum cleaner, but that is definitely not the case.  The background white noise is definitely NOT a problem.

Overall our experience has been tremendously positive.  Staff and patients have both been complimentary of the VacStation.  I would encourage my peers to definitely explore this option as part of your Covid-19 infection control protocol.  The Aegis VacStation is *highly recommended*!

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