Reducing the occupational riskof infection for the Surgeon: Multicentric national survey on more than 15,000 surgical procedures
Andrea Pietrabissa, MD; Stefano Merigliano, MD; Marco Montorsi, MD; Gilberto Poggioli, MD; Marco Stella, MD; Domenico Borzomati, MD; Enrico Ciferri, MD; Giuseppe Rossi, PhD, Gianbattista Doglietto, MD.
World J Surg. 1997 Jul-Aug;21(6):573-8.
The objective of this study was to find the incidence of accidental exposures to blood and body fluids among surgeons during operations and to describe their dynamics. A probabilistic model was also used to predict the cumulative 30-year risk to the surgeon of contracting hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV, HCV) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and estimate the effect of preventive strategies in reducing this risk. A multicentric prospective survey, based on self-administered questionnaires, was conducted during a period of 6 months in 39 Italian hospitals. As accidental exposure to blood or body fluids occurred in 9.2% of 15,375 operations. In about 2% of procedures a parenteral-type injury, such as actual skin puncture or eye contamination, was suffered by the operating surgeon. A needle-stick injury was the commonest accident, and its occurrence was found to vary with the phase of the procedure and its length. The current lifetime risk of acquiring HBV, HCV, and HIV infection in our regions was estimated to be as high as 42.7%, 34.8%, and 0.54%, respectively. The adoption of preventive strategies is expected to reduce this risk to 21% for HBV, 16.6% for HCV, and 0.23% for HIV infection. Active immunization of surgeons against HBV is strongly recommended. The case is also made for the use of a face-shield combined with a permanent change in our surgical practice capable of reducing the current high rate of parenteral injuries.