A new mobile robot that disinfects hospital rooms in five to 10 minutes with blasts of light is being used at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood.
The Xenex Pulsed UV Disinfectant System, which uses throbbing ultraviolet light to kill germs, focuses on heavily used areas such as tabletops, bedrails, remote controls and telephones.
The machine is supposed to significantly reduce hospital-acquired infections.
Valley is rolling five Xenex machines through patient rooms, the emergency department, operating rooms and other areas on a 160-day trial basis. The devices, which cost about $80,000 each, are used in addition to the hospital’s usual cleaning and infection control programs.
“The Xenex pulsed ultraviolet light system is a novel technology that is able to kill a broad spectrum of bacteria, including the very resilient Clostridium difficile, which are often the culprit in hospital-acquired infections,” said Dr. Mitchell Rubinstein, vice president of medical affairs. “As an added advantage, the Xenex system does not rely on noxious chemicals.”
Clostridium difficile, known as C. diff., is a resilient bacterium that causes symptoms that range from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. It typically affects older patients after the use of antibiotics.
Hospitals that use the Xenex have reported a 69 percent decrease in C. diff. and other serious infections, said Maureen Curran, a Valley spokeswoman.
“It has been called a ‘game changer’ in the fight against hospital-acquired infections,” Curran said.