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The Prevalence of Visible and/or Occult Blood on Anesthesia and Monitoring Equipment

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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This study examined the prevalence of visible and or occult blood on 6 types of equipment. This equipment included blood pressure cuffs, electrocardiograph cables, pulse oximeter probes, ventilator control switches, vaporizer control knobs and flow meter knobs. This equipment was inspected for visible blood and then tested for occult blood utilizing a three stage phenolphthalein test. A total of 28 operating suites from 2 separate medical facilities were used for data collection. The total sample size was 342 observations of the 6 types of equipment. Of the 342 observations, 32 were positive for occult blood. Only 6 samples were positive for visible blood. The presence of blood on this equipment may be in direct violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations Blood-borne Pathogen Standard and the infection control guidelines of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and the American Society of Anesthesiologist. The presence of blood on this equipment may increase the risk for nosocomial and occupational exposure to viral and bacterial pathogens. Recommendations were made to decrease the risks from this contamination by redesigning equipment, increasing the use of disposable equipment and ensuring compliance with effective infection control procedures.

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