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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), pp. 106-111. (doi:10.1177/1757177409105073).

Record type: Article


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.

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Published date: May 2009
Keywords: decontamination, sterile service departments, surgical instruments, episcopic differential interference contrast/epi-fluorescence microscopy, sypro ruby
Organisations: Centre for Biological Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 209637
ISSN: 1876-0341
PURE UUID: 10d25902-2a6e-4f8f-902c-39c441d4344f
ORCID for T. Secker: ORCID iD
ORCID for C.W. Keevil: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 31 Jan 2012 14:23
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 10:46

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Author: R. Howlin
Author: J. Harrison
Author: T. Secker ORCID iD
Author: C.W. Keevil ORCID iD

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