Study: Contaminated hands of anesthesia providers put patients at risk

By: December 23rd, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Anesthesia providers’ hands are a risk to patients during surgery if they are contaminated, causing an increase in deaths, according to a study in the January issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, the journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS).

The investigation was done by Randy Loftus, MD, and colleagues at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH, the journal reported.

Loftus theorized that if an anesthesia provider’s hands were contaminated with bacteria before coming in contact with a patient, it would serve as a risk factor for bacterial transmission. The study covered 164 operating room procedures. The authors of the study looked for patient IV stopcock bacterial transmission as well as the general anesthesia environment.

In 19 of the cases, there was a bacterial transmission in the IV stopcock, the study found. Out of those 19 cases, nine of them were the result of the anesthesia provider.

Bacterial transmission to the anesthesia environment was also found. Out of the 164 cases, 146 were due to the anesthesia environment, 17 being from the anesthesia provider.

The study did conclude that the contaminated hands of an anesthesia provider served as a risk factor for patients by the IV stopcock and anesthesia environment.

Have you considered the risk of anesthesia-related infection hazards? If so, what have you done? Let us know in the comment section below.


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