Reducing the carbon footprint of hospitals: anesthesia services and operating rooms as examples

Pierre Lepoivre (1), Natalia Magasich-Airola (2) Published in the journal : April 2023 Category : Médecine et société

Summary :

Human-induced climate change is threatening basic needs, living conditions and development of future generations. The health system itself is a substantial contributor to global warming, either directly through greenhouse anesthetic gas emissions or indirectly by high consumption of energy and single-use medical devices, and the generation of large quantities of waste. The present narrative literature review briefly synthesizes updated major data on the negative environmental impact of energy-intensive operating room activities. More positively, the review recapitulates some of the most recent initiatives, successfully implemented to reduce the carbon footprint and pollution associated with anesthesia and surgery departments, following the 5Rs rule: reduce, recycle, reuse, rethink and research.

What is already known about the topic?

We are currently engaged in an environmental crisis of utmost gravity. It is now recognized that health care institutions are actively polluting and participating in the environmental crisis. The pollution generated by our activities has repercussions on different scales, including human health. We are therefore faced with the paradox of a health system that contributes to the pathologies it is trying to cure. It is essential to implement an eco-design of care to protect our patients, future generations and our planet.

What does this article bring up for us?

This review allows us to better understand the carbon footprint origin in operating rooms and to highlight a set of applicable solutions to reduce their environmental impact.

Key Words

Anesthesia, pollution, operating room