Introduction: Tourniquets are employed widely in orthopaedic surgery. The use of the same tourniquet on a repetitive basis without a standard protocol for cleaning may be a source of cross-infection. This study examines the contamination of the tourniquets in our institution.
Materials and methods: Agar plates were used to take samples from 20 tourniquets employed in orthopaedic procedures. Four sites on each tourniquet were cultured and incubated at 37 degrees C for 48 h.
Results: All sampled tourniquets were contaminated with colony counts varying from 9 to > 385. Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus spp. were the most commonly grown organisms from the tourniquets (96%). Some tourniquets had growths of important pathogens including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Pseudomonas spp., and S. aureus. On cleaning five tourniquets with Clinell (detergent and disinfectant) wipes (GAMA Healthcare Ltd, London, UK), there was a 99.2% reduction in contamination of the tourniquets 5 min after cleaning.
Conclusions: In addition to the manufacturers' guidelines, we recommend the cleaning of tourniquets with a disinfectant wipe before every case.