Wearing two sets of gloves reduces contamination in surgery

A simple intervention such as wearing double gloves and removing the outer layer after touching the patient during surgery can reduce contamination. This study tested, in a simulated environment, whether anaesthetists wearing two pairs of gloves reduced contamination in surgery. The outer set of gloves was removed immediately after placing a tube into the airway. In half of the 22 simulation sessions personnel wore a single pair of gloves and in the other half they wore two sets of gloves. Before the simulation, the lips and inside of the mouth of the mannequin were coated with a fluorescent gel to represent a pathogen. After the simulation, an observer examined 40 different sites to determine whether the ‘pathogen’ was transferred to the patient or the patient’s environment. There was a significant reduction in the rate of contamination with double gloves. Single gloves were associated with an average of 20 contaminated sites compared to five with double gloves.

Reference: Birnbach DJ, Rosen LF, Fitzpatrick M, Carling P, Arheart KL, Munoz-Price LS. Double gloves: a randomized trial to evaluate a simple strategy to reduce contamination in the operating room. Anesthesia and Analgesia. 2015 Mar;120(4):848-852

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