Have the protocals for cleaning the chambers and disinfection changed in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?
Date Posted: 3/17/2020
Question: Have the protocals for cleaning the chambers and disinfection changed in light of the COVID-19 outbreak?
Thank you for your question. The UHMS HBO2 safety committee (UHMS-SC) can provide information to assist you in answering your question, but the ultimate responsibility for these types of questions rests with the Medical Director and Hyperbaric Safety Director (MD & HSD) of your facility.
The UHMS-SC directs all hyperbaric practices to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) along with guidance from the Hyperbaric Chamber Manufacturer, State and local health agencies, and your hospital infection prevention and control group. All of these sources will impact the decision for your practice. Your choice should be a decision made between the MD & HSD of your program. The UHMS-SC can provide guidance based upon existing literature available to the public, but does not endorse a particular product or procedure.
The CDC has released a list of items as identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that can be utilized for disinfection, stating that:
“Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).”
It is important to note that many of the items within the EPA’s list may be unsafe to utilize on acrylic surfaces. It is important to reach out to your specific chamber manufacturer for further guidance. In all cases, it is important to follow the guidance of the product’s manufacturer for application and contact time.
For non-acrylic surfaces, The UHMS-SC advises you follow the guidance of your hospital’s infection prevention and control department to identify a particular product that is known to be effective against COVID-19.
Regarding protocols for cleaning chamber surfaces, hyperbaric facilities should follow the protocols set forth by their institution. Dr. Jim Chimiak, Medical Director at the Divers Alert Network states: “There are no special recommendations that we are aware of for chamber attendants or for disinfection of the hyperbaric chamber and BIBs in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The usual disinfection protocols are more than sufficient to kill COVID-19, in the unlikely event that it would be present.”
EPA.gov, “List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2,” Accessed 3/17/2020
Sechrist Industries, “CARE AND DISINFECTION OF THE CHAMBER AND GURNEY,” Accessed 3/17/2020
Perry Baromedical, “PERRY GUIDANCE ON COVID-19,” Accessed 3/17/2020
Divers Alert network, “DAN ENCOURAGES DIVERS AND DIVE OPERATORS TO PROPERLY DISINFECT DIVE GEAR,” Accessed 3/17/2020
The UHMS Safety Committee
Neither the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) staff nor its members are able to provide medical diagnosis or recommend equipment over the internet. If you have medical concerns about hyperbaric medicine you need to be evaluated by a doctor licensed to practice medicine in your locale, which can provide you professional recommendations for hyperbaric medicine based upon your condition. The responsibility of approving the use of equipment resides with the physician and safety director of the facility. Information provided on this forum is for general educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own health care practitioner and you should not rely upon it as though it were specific medical advice given to you personally.