Indoor Air Quality in Inpatient Environments: A Systematic Review on Factors that Influence Chemical Pollution in Inpatient Wards

Marco Gola, Gaetano Settimo, Stefano Capolongo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction. Indoor air quality is one the main issues in which governments are focusing. In healing spaces, several research studies are reporting a growing number of data analysis and research works in order to guarantee and prevent health of users and workers. Currently the main investigations are about biological and physical risks; otherwise chemical ones are less investigated. Several countries are carrying out indoor air quality monitoring in those professional workplaces in which chemicals are used but also in some typically indoor (generic) spaces for the building hygiene assessment. The indoor air is affected by several factors that currently are analyzed punctually, without a whole scenario of all the variable performances. The authors have done a systematic review on the current state of the art and knowledge related to chemical pollution in healing spaces and the emerging strategies, supported by scientific literature, for healthy inpatient rooms and their indoor air. Methodology. The systematic review has been done through the analysis of papers from SCOPUS, DOAJ, and PubMed databases. The survey sample considered 483 scientific articles, between 1989 and 2017, and starting the systematic reading and analysis of the abstracts, only 187 scientific papers were selected, and only 96 were accessible. Discussion. Since scientific literature reports very different outputs and results, the resulting work from the survey is divided into specific fields of interest related to construction and finishing materials, installations, components, ventilation systems, processes, etc. Starting from the systematic reading, the paper classifies the factors of indoor air in four macroareas: outdoor air and microclimatic factors (temperature, relative humidity, air velocity, air change, etc.); management activities (management and maintenance activities, ventilation systems, HVAC, cleaning and disinfectant activities, etc.); design factors (room dimensions, furniture, finishing materials, etc.); and human presence and medical activities (users' presence, their health status, and medical activities carried out in inpatient rooms). Conclusion. The systematic review gives rise to a broad scenario on the existing knowledge regarding the indoor air pollution, design, and management strategies for healthy spaces and several emerging topics. Although the aim of the investigation is strictly related to chemical pollution, several considerations from the biological point of view have been listed. The systematic review, supported by the existing scientific literature, becomes a starting point for considering the importance of the topic and to stimulate the knowledge around this field of interest for improving studies, analysis, and simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8358306
JournalJournal of Healthcare Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Surgery
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics


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