[Is pneumatic sample transport system also a carrier for microorganisms?]

Mikrobiyol Bul. 2009 Jul;43(3):449-55.
[Article in Turkish]


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the possible infection and contamination risk of the pneumatic system used in our hospital and to establish essential infection control measures. The study was conducted in a quaternary health care center with 1.000 bed capacity. A total of 614 specimens were taken 2 times weekly from the pneumatic transport system and its carriers at 22 wards, 5 intensive care units, 3 laboratories, 2 blood taking units, and pharmacy. Samples were also obtained from the fingertips of 33 subjects using the system, before and after contact with the carriers. A questionnaire that consisted of 8 questions was applied to 224 subjects who worked in those units, evaluating the degree of compliance to the obligations for the cleaning of the pneumatic system and carriers and their approach in case of visible pollution at the system. Bacterial growth was observed in 15.2% (45/296) of samples in the 1st week and 7.6% (18/238) of the samples in the 2nd week, making a total of 11.8% (63/534) bacterial growth. No growth was detected from the areas where the carriers were placed. Of these 69.8% were coagulase negative staphylococci, 11.1% diphteroids, 7.9% Acinetobacter Iwoffii, 4.8% Staphylococcus aureus, 4.8% Bacillus spp. and 1.6% Enterococcus durans. Acinetobacter baumannii and Aspergillus were detected at two fingertip samples taken before the contact with carriers, while again A. baumannii and Enterobacter cloacae were detected at the samples following contact. Moreover, 31.3% of the subjects noted that they cleaned the carriers only if any visible contamination was present. In addition, 14.3% reported that they have encountered broken or spilled up material in the system for more than 5 times, 10.3% reported that they followed the instructions in case of presence of infected material inside the carriers, 23.7% reported that they always washed their hands after any contact with the carriers, 9.8% noted that they always used gloves during contact with the system. Of the subjects 73.7% declared that they had no information about cleaning and decontamination procedures related to the system. These data revealed that the pneumatic system used in our hospital carried contamination risk and the rules for hygiene and disinfection regarding the pneumatic transport system has to be determined, implemented and checked in order to establish appropriate infection control measures.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Equipment Contamination / statistics & numerical data
  • Fingers / microbiology
  • Fungi / isolation & purification
  • Hospital Communication Systems / standards*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Infection Control / standards
  • Surveys and Questionnaires