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To explore whether surgical teams with greater stability among their members (ie, members have worked together more in the past) experience lower rates of sharps-related percutaneous blood and body fluid exposures (BBFE) during surgical procedures.
A 10-year retrospective cohort study.
A single large academic teaching hospital.
Surgical teams participating in surgical procedures (n=333,073) performed during 2001–2010 and 2,113 reported percutaneous BBFE were analyzed.
A social network measure (referred to as the team stability index) was used to quantify the extent to which surgical team members worked together in the previous 6 months. Poisson regression was used to examine the effect of team stability on the risk of BBFE while controlling for procedure characteristics and accounting for procedure duration. Separate regression models were generated for percutaneous BBFE involving suture needles and those involving other surgical devices.
The team stability index was associated with the risk of percutaneous BBFE (adjusted rate ratio, 0.93 [95% CI, 0.88–0.97]). However, the association was stronger for percutaneous BBFE involving devices other than suture needles (adjusted rate ratio, 0.92 [95% CI, 0.85–0.99]) than for exposures involving suture needles (0.96 [0.88–1.04]).
Greater team stability may reduce the risk of percutaneous BBFE during surgical procedures, particularly for exposures involving devices other than suture needles. Additional research should be conducted on the basis of primary data gathered specifically to measure qualities of relationships among surgical team personnel.
To use a unique multicomponent administrative data set assembled at a large academic teaching hospital to examine the risk of percutaneous blood and body fluid (BBF) exposures occurring in operating rooms.
A 10-year retrospective cohort design.
A single large academic teaching hospital.
All surgical procedures (n=333,073) performed in 2001–2010 as well as 2,113 reported BBF exposures were analyzed.
Crude exposure rates were calculated; Poisson regression was used to analyze risk factors and account for procedure duration. BBF exposures involving suture needles were examined separately from those involving other device types to examine possible differences in risk factors.
The overall rate of reported BBF exposures was 6.3 per 1,000 surgical procedures (2.9 per 1,000 surgical hours). BBF exposure rates increased with estimated patient blood loss (17.7 exposures per 1,000 procedures with 501–1,000 cc blood loss and 26.4 exposures per 1,000 procedures with >1,000 cc blood loss), number of personnel working in the surgical field during the procedure (34.4 exposures per 1,000 procedures having ≥15 personnel ever in the field), and procedure duration (14.3 exposures per 1,000 procedures lasting 4 to <6 hours, 27.1 exposures per 1,000 procedures lasting ≥6 hours). Regression results showed associations were generally stronger for suture needle–related exposures.
Results largely support other studies found in the literature. However, additional research should investigate differences in risk factors for BBF exposures associated with suture needles and those associated with all other device types.
The risk of percutaneous blood and body fluid (BBF) exposures in operating rooms was analyzed with regard to various properties of surgical procedures.
Retrospective cohort study.
A single university hospital.
All surgical procedures performed during the period 2001–2002 (n = 60,583) were included in the analysis. Administrative data were linked to allow examination of 389 BBF exposures. Stratified exposure rates were calculated; Poisson regression was used to analyze risk factors. Risk of percutaneous BBF exposure was examined separately for events involving suture needles and events involving other device types.
Operating room personnel reported 6.4 BBF exposures per 1,000 surgical procedures (2.6 exposures per 1,000 surgical hours). Exposure rates increased with an increase in estimated blood loss (17.5 exposures per 1,000 procedures with 501–1,000 cc blood loss and 22.5 exposures per 1,000 procedures with >1,000 cc blood loss), increased number of personnel ever working in the surgical field (20.5 exposures per 1,000 procedures with 15 or more personnel ever in the field), and increased surgical procedure duration (13.7 exposures per 1,000 procedures that lasted 4–6 hours, 24.0 exposures per 1,000 procedures that lasted 6 hours or more). Associations were generally stronger for suture needle–related exposures.
Our results support the need for prevention programs that are targeted to mitigate the risks for BBF exposure posed by high blood loss during surgery (eg, use of blunt suture needles and a neutral zone for passing surgical equipment) and prolonged duration of surgery (eg, double gloving to defend against the risk of glove perforation associated with long surgery). Further investigation is needed to understand the risks posed by lengthy surgical procedures.
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