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UNC Hospitals Chooses Radio Frequency Detection Technology

RF Surgical Systems, Inc., the market leader in retained surgical items (RSI) detection, today announced the University of North Carolina Hospitals implemented the RF Assure™ Detection System in all of its surgical suites. The RF Assure Detection System utilizes evidence-based radio-frequency (RF) detection technology to prevent and detect RSIs from remaining inside a patient post-surgery.

“While manual counting by operating room personnel is the standard-of-care in preventing RSI, adjunctive technology is an important added security to further improve patient safety”

UNC Hospitals is using the RF Assure system as an adjunct to the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN)’s standard protocol of manual counting. RF Assure provides verification of counting to eliminate this highly preventable medical error and enhance patient safety in operating rooms without adding secondary counting procedures or additional time consuming processes. When the RF Assure Detection System is activated, a detection mat, placed on the surgical table under the patient, scans the surgical site and alerts operating room staff if a surgical sponge or other materials fitted with an RF tag is remaining inside a patient’s body.

“UNC Hospitals is committed to ensuring optimum safety for patients in our care, and the RF Assure Detection System is an important tool in assuring that no errors occur in our surgical suites,” said Dr. Christopher Clarence Rupp, surgeon at UNC Hospitals. “We are proud to be a leader in patient safety and this adjunctive technology has helped us bring the highest quality of care to our patients by preventing unnecessary X-rays and repeat surgeries and potentially lowering anesthesia time.”

UNC also participated in a multi-center study on the use of medical technology to help prevent and detect retained surgical objects. Key interim conclusions were reported at the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Clinical Congress, and included the following:

  •  RF detection can speed identification and avoid use of radiation to locate missing sponges, thereby improving both patient safety and clinical workflow efficiency in the operating room.
  • Retained surgical items (RSIs) occur regardless of whether the manual counts were correct, affirming the need for a check-and-safety balance with adjunctive detection technology.
  •  In almost 90 percent of operations, nursing staff reported that radio-frequency (RF) detection offered less stress during wound closure and improved overall confidence that no foreign objects were left in the patient.

Dr. Rupp will present additional interim results of the ongoing study at the next ACS Clinical Congress Tuesday, October 25, 2011 in a session titled “How Did That Sponge Get Left Behind?: Avoiding Mistakes in Our Complex Operating Room Environment”.

“While manual counting by operating room personnel is the standard-of-care in preventing RSI, adjunctive technology is an important added security to further improve patient safety,” said Dr. Jeffrey Port, co-founder and chairman of RF Surgical. “The RF Assure System represents the cutting-edge in detection of surgical sponges and is an important tool for reducing the incidence of RSI to zero.”

About UNC Hospitals

UNC Hospitals is an 803-bed public, academic medical center operated by and for the people of North Carolina. The Hospitals’ mission is to provide high quality patient care, to educate health care professionals, to advance research and to provide community service. UNC Hospitals includes North Carolina Cancer Hospital, North Carolina Children’s Hospital, North Carolina Memorial Hospital, North Carolina Neurosciences Hospital, and North Carolina Women’s Hospital. Each year UNC Hospitals cares for patients from all 100 counties in North Carolina and several surrounding states.

About RF Surgical Systems, Inc.

RF Surgical Systems, Inc. is the market leader in the detection and prevention of retained surgical sponges. The RF Surgical Detection System is the preferred solution in more than 1,500 operating rooms, trauma and labor and delivery suites nationwide. Since January 2011, more than 70 hospitals and surgical centers have joined the fast-growing list of care providers using RF Surgical Technology. RF Surgical Systems is based in Bellevue, Washington with R & D facilities in San Diego, California. The advanced technologies used in the RF Surgical Detection System are protected by U.S. patents. Regulatory clearance to market the system was granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2006. The company is online at

UNC Medical Center News Office
Tom Hughes, 919-966-6047
For RF Surgical
Schwartz MSL for RF Surgical
Kristin Mulligan or Danielle Furman, 415-512-0770

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