Background: Anesthesia practitioners are at risk for percutaneous injuries by blood-contaminated needles and sharp objects that may result in the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis viruses. Reporting these injuries is important for the early prevention and management of blood-borne infections. Objective: To investigate the occurrence, reporting, characteristics and outcome of contaminated percutaneous injuries (CPIs) in anesthesia residents, fellows and faculty. Method: A cross-sectional anonymous survey electronically distributed to all 214 anesthesia practitioners at a large academic multihospital-based anesthesia practice in Florida, USA. Results: The overall response rate was 51% (110/214) (60% (50/83) for residents, 50% (8/16) for fellows and 45% (52/115) for anesthesia faculty). Fifty-nine percent (65/110) (95% confidence interval (95% CI): 5068) of participants reported having one or more CPIs during their years of anesthesia practice (residents 42% (95% CI: 2955), fellows 50% and faculty 77% (95% CI: 6688)). The number of CPIs per anesthesia practitioner who answered the survey was 0.58 for residents, 0.75 for fellows and 1.5 for faculty. Within the last 5 years, 35% (95% CI: 2644) of participants had one or more CPIs (39% of residents, 50% of fellows and 29% of faculty). CPIs in the last 5 years in faculty older than 45 years of age were 12% (3/25) compared to 44% (12/27) in faculty younger than 45 years of age. Analyzing data from practitioners who had one CPI revealed that 70% (95% CI: 5585) reported the incident at the time of injury (residents 85%, fellows 100% and faculty 58%). Hollow-bore needles constituted 73.5% (95% CI: 5988) of injuries. As per participants' responses, 17% (18/103) of CPIs received postexposure prophylaxis and there were zero seroconversions. Conclusion: Based on our study results, most anesthesia practitioners will sustain a CPI during their years of practice. Despite some improvements compared to historic figures, the occurrence of CPIs continues to be high and reporting of percutaneous injuries remains suboptimal among anesthesia residents. A fifth of injuries in the perioperative setting is from an infected source and requires postexposure prophylaxis. Although no infections were reported due to CPI exposure in this study, findings underscore the need for more education and interventions to reduce occupational blood exposures in anesthesia practitioners and improve reporting.
- occupational hazard
- percutaneous injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health