The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2009 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

EVALUATION OF DISINFECTION OF REUSABLE PULSE OXIMETRY SENSORS USED IN THE HOMECARE AND PRE-HOSPITAL EMERGENCY CARE SETTINGS

Louis M. Kaufman1, Benjamin T. Kaufman2; 1Roberts Home Medical, Inc., Germantown, MD; 2Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service, Montgomery County, MD

BACKGROUND: In homecare and pre-hospital emergency care settings reusable pulse oximetry sensors are to be surface cleaned between patient use by wiping with a solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol. The current study evaluated patient-ready sensors being used by respiratory care practitioners (RCP) or paramedics (PM) for spot checks or continuous overnight oximetry by testing them for bacterial contamination. METHOD: Patient ready reusable oximetry sensors from various locations were tested for bacterial contamination. The inner aspect of oximeter sensors were swabbed using sterile cotton swabs. These swabs were transferred to agar plates and incubated. 1. Columbia CNA agar (CAN) is a media selective for the growth of gram-positive bacteria by inhibiting the growth of gram-negative bacteria. 2. Eosin Methyline Blue (EMB) agar is a media selective for the growth of gram-negative bacteria. RESULTS: A total of 12 sensors were evaluated: 6 sensors (RT01-06) maintained by individual RCP’s for spot check use in the homecare setting; 2 sensors (PM01-02) maintained by PM’s for spot check use in the pre-hospital emergency care setting; and 4 sensors (ST01-04) maintained by RCP’s for overnight oximetry testing in the homecare setting. There was no growth on any of the sensors used in the pre-hospital emergency care setting or for overnight oximetry testing. All 6 of the sensors used by individual RCP’s for spot check use in the homecare setting exhibited bacterial contamination. No growth was noted on any EMB plate indicating no gram-negative bacteria on any sensor. Growth noted on the CNA agar plates is the result of gram-positive bacteria. It is likely these colonies are the result of staphylococcus epidermitis, normal flora bacteria of the skin. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates disinfection of reusable pulse oximetry sensors between patient use by wiping with a solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol is effective when performed. Sensors which are not thoroughly cleaned between patient use contain microbes. Personnel responsible for between patient use disinfection must remain diligent to assure the disinfection process is performed effectively. Sponsored Research - None

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