Examination of staphylococcal stethoscope contamination in the emergency department (pilot) study (EXSSCITED pilot study) Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • ABSTRACT Introduction: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of Staphylococcus-contaminated stethoscopes belonging to emergency department (ED) staff and to identify the proportion of these that were Staphylococcus aureus or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Methods: We conducted a prospective observational cohort study of bacterial cultures from 100 ED staff members' stethoscopes at three EDs. Study participants were asked to complete a questionnaire. Results: Fifty-four specimens grew coagulase-negative staphylococci and one grew methicillin-susceptible S. aureus. No MRSA was cultured. Only 8% of participants, all of whom were nurses, reported cleaning their stethoscope before or after each patient assessment. Alcohol-based wipes were most commonly used to clean stethoscopes. A lack of time, being too busy, and forgetfulness were the most frequently reported reasons for not cleaning the stethoscope in the ED. Conclusions: This study indicates that although stethoscope contamination rates in these EDs are high, the prevalence of S. aureus or MRSA on stethoscopes is low.

publication date

  • July 2011