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How clean are we? - an audit studying hand washing for aseptic procedures amongst anesthetists: A-35

Strachan, S. R.; Williams, E.

European Journal of Anaesthesiology: May 2005 - Volume 22 - Issue - p 10
Evidence Based Practice and Quality Assurance

Dept. of Anaesthetic, St Georges NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom

Background and Goal of Study: Anesthetists perform procedures aseptically e.g. central line insertion, epidural and spinal anesthesia. Infectious complications are rare but we should always strive to reduce the risk of adverse consequences. The purpose of this audit is to examine our handwashing technique. A literature search has revealed no similar studies.

Materials and Methods: 20 anesthetists and 20 scrub nurses (controls) were studied. Once the subject had scrubbed they were asked to imprint their dominant hand onto a horse blood agar plate. These were incubated for 24 hours. The numbers of colony forming units (CFU) were then counted and the two cohorts compared.

Results and Discussions:





The results show that the hands of anesthetists are significantly less sterile than the controls. Hand hygiene is important in preventing infection and it is our responsibility to take every reasonable precaution to reduce the risk of harmful sequelae.

Conclusion: This audit highlights our current poor practice. We must aim to improve upon our present hand washing technique. I suggest the best way we can do this is to follow the guidelines set by our own association1.

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1 Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland. Infection Control in Anaesthesia. London: AAGBI, 2002.
© 2005 European Society of Anaesthesiology