Acquisition of proteinaceous contamination through the handling of surgical instruments by hospital staff in sterile service departments


Howlin, R., Harrison, J., Secker, T. and Keevil, C.W. (2009) Acquisition of proteinaceous contamination through the handling of surgical instruments by hospital staff in sterile service departments. Journal of Infection Prevention, 10, (3), 106-111. (doi:10.1177/1757177409105073).

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Description/Abstract

Using Episcopic Differential Interference Contrast (EDIC) microscopy, this study has investigated the potential reapplication of prote ina ceouscontami napotential reapplication of proteinaceous contamination onto surgical instruments following a washer-disinfector cycle through the handling of staff within the clean room. The deposition of 0.51 ng/mm2 of protein onto surgical grade stainless steel by one finger print alone has been demonstrated. Moreover, using a previously described contamination index, a 5 to 10-fold increase in protein present on surgical instruments was noted following handling by clean-room staff under current departmental practices, relative to instruments handled by staff wearing gloves. While unlikely to pose a direct risk to patient health, subsequent sterilisation will fix protein to an instrument surface thereby decreasing the effectiveness of further decontamination cycles. Current guidelines make no recommendations surrounding the use of gloves by staff working within the clean room. However it is clear that this matter must be reviewed to limit the unnecessary transference of protein to surgical instruments.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 1757-1774 (print)
1757-1782 (electronic)
Keywords: decontamination, sterile service departments, surgical instruments, episcopic differential interference contrast/epi-fluorescence microscopy, sypro ruby
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RD Surgery
Divisions: Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences > Biological Sciences
ePrint ID: 209637
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2012 14:23
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 19:50
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/209637

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