Organic buildup and residual blood on clean infant stethoscopes used in maternal-infant areas




Nick, Jan Marie

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Since the mid 1980s, health care workers have attempted to eliminate contact with blood and other body via primary or secondary exposure. At delivery, stethoscopes used on newly born infants come in direct contact with blood and body fluids from the skin of the infant. If contaminants such as blood and body fluids still remain on stethoscopes despite cleaning, an environmental risk may exist.

Using a naturalistic setting, a non-experimental, two group post-test design was implemented to investigate the occurrence of organic buildup and residual blood on clean stethoscopes used on infants in the delivery and/or nursery areas. Eleven hospitals were chosen as data collection sites from a non-probability sampling technique.

Results showed that of 97 clean stethoscopes used on newly born infants, 41 of 51 L&D stethoscopes (80%) and 33 of 46 stethoscopes found in nursery areas (72%) had organic buildup on the diaphragm of the stethoscope. There were no differences in the rates of organic buildup between L&D and nursery areas (χ\sp2\sb(1,N=97)=1.00,p=.317). Seventy six percent of stethoscopes used in L&D areas were positive for blood, as compared to 46% of Nursery stethoscopes testing positive. Nursery areas did have significantly lower rates of residual blood than stethoscopes from L&D areas (χ\sp2\sb(1,N=97)=9.89,p=.002). The odds ratio indicated that stethoscopes used in L&D areas are four times as likely to have residual blood on them than stethoscopes used in nursery areas.

A significant association was found between organic buildup and residual blood (χ\sp2\sb(1,N=97)=6.60,p=.010). The odds ratio indicated that a stethoscopes is 312 times more likely to have blood on the stethoscope if buildup is also present. When hospital sites were compared for organic buildup, the majority of proportions ranged from.666 to.857. All had similar confidence intervals. Two hospitals had better rates of blood contamination than the other nine hospitals. It can be concluded that traditional methods for cleaning stethoscopes in maternal-infant areas are ineffective in removing blood and other body fluids.



Nursing, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Occupational safety, Medical equipment, Babies, Blood