Damage to physicians' gloves during "routine" cardiac catheterization: an underappreciated occurrence.
Recently, concern for the protection of health care employees and health care recipients has led to increasing awareness of transmitted infections. However, it is evident that damage of barrier methods of controlling infection can occur and go undetected. In a prospective study conducted from January 13, 1989 through February 15, 1989, 100 sequential pairs of gloves (200 gloves) worn during routine pediatric cardiac catheterizations were evaluated for punctures. A control group of 25 pairs of unused physicians' gloves was also evaluated for the presence of spontaneous leakage. In the 25 pairs of unused gloves (50 gloves), no punctures were detected, whereas in the 200 gloves worn during the catheterization procedures, punctures were found in 38 gloves or 19% (p less than 0.001). When comparing the frequency of punctures with respect to the digits, 81% of the punctures were detected within the thumb and index finger of the gloves. In the majority of instances, physicians describe stopcock manipulation as the cause of the punctures. Implication of the stopcock as a possible mechanism for glove damage can be isolated to the stop mechanism on the stopcock pivot. Although surgeons' gloves are worn in many procedures besides surgery, no previous studies have defined the incidence of glove punctures during these procedures. Recommendations include a redesign of the stopcock as a protective measure and immediate change of latex surgeons' gloves whenever damage is suspected.
Palmisano, JM; Meliones, JN
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