Patients with prion disease: Planning for eye surgery

Maureen A. O'Brien, Victoria Navarro, Cora Hancock, Terence P. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Human prion diseases are characterized by rapidly progressive fatal neurodegenerative symptoms. In prion diseases, neural tissues have the greatest potential for infectivity, and ocular tissues are included in the category of high infection risk. The Centers for Disease Control an d Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have published specific infection control guidelines for prion diseases. Standard Precautions are utilized for all patient care. Additional and more stringent measures are indicated when patients with known or suspected prion disease require ocular surgery. Measures include: notification of infection control, operating room, and decontamination personnel; use of disposable instruments whenever possible; special processing for nondisposable instruments; identification of tissue and laboratory specimens; and incineration or other appropriate treatment of infectious waste. Clumsiness, vision cha nges, and myoclonus in association with prion disease may predispose patients to traumatic ocular emergencies. Proactively, procedure areas should utilize a multidisciplinary approach to do the following: identify urgent surgical procedures that are likely to be required by these patients; evaluate cleaning procedures that will result in effective tissue removal; identify critical, non-disposable equipment for which there are no disposable alternatives; identify decontamination methods available to the specific facility as well as to identify which recommended decontamination procedures may not be appropriate for ocular instrumentation; and develop precautionary procedures specifically for decontamination of equipment and instruments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-16
Number of pages4
JournalInsight - Journal of the American Society of Ophthalmic Registered Nurses
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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