PRE AND POST EXPOSURE ANALYSIS OF CHLORHEXIDINE GLUCONATE’S EFFECTIVENESS AGAINST BACTERIAL CONTAMINATION OF STETHOSCOPES
Objective: The present study is to assess the effectiveness of chlorhexidinegluconate as a disinfectant for the stethoscope diaphragm, to survey the routine practices followed by health care professionals (HCPs) towards stethoscope disinfection and to ascertain their general awareness on the matter.
Methods: Questionnaire-based study conducted to assess the degree of awareness and attitude of HCPs towards stethoscope disinfection procedures. 200 responses were obtained and analyzed. Randomized, blind trial comparing bacterial load of stethoscope post-exposure to chlorhexidinegluconate vs. ethyl alcohol. The swabs collected from stethoscope diaphragm before and after exposure to disinfectant, were cultured using spread plate technique on nutrient agar. CFU count was compared.
Results: Out of 200, nearly all HCPs part of this study were aware that stethoscopes could be linked to transmission of healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) but only 78.5% (157) were accustomed to stethoscope disinfection practices. Although only 13.5% (27/200) of participants believed that chlorhexidinegluconate was effective, this study found it to be highly efficacious against bacterial recontamination.
Conclusion: We stress upon the importance of regular disinfection of the stethoscope after each use and encourage frequent cleaning of the device with chlorhexidinegluconate, which may reduce bacterial recontamination for a longer period.
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