Is double-gloving really protective? A comparison between the glove perforation rate among perioperative nurses with single and double gloves during surgery

Am J Surg. 2012 Aug;204(2):210-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2011.08.017. Epub 2012 Feb 17.


Background: Surgical teams rely on surgical gloves as a barrier to protect themselves against blood-borne pathogenic infections during surgery. Double-gloving is adopted by surgeons to tackle the problem of glove perforation. Nevertheless, double-gloving is not practiced commonly by operating room nurses and there are only limited studies about double-gloving that targets only perioperative nurses. The aim of this research was to assess the effectiveness of double-gloving in protecting perioperative nurses by comparing the frequency of glove perforation between single-gloving and double-gloving groups.

Methods: A prospective and randomized study was performed. Nurses were assigned randomly to single-gloved and double-gloved groups for comparison of the glove perforation rate. Water-leakage and air-inflation tests were used to detect glove perforation.

Results: Glove perforations was detected in 10 of 112 sets of single-gloves (8.9%) and 12 of 106 sets of outer gloves in the double-gloved group (11.3%). There was no inner double-glove perforation (0%). Glove perforations were found in 6 and 4 of the 112 sets of single-gloves for the first assistants (5.36%) and the scrub nurses (3.57%), and 5 and 7 of 106 sets of outer gloves in the double-gloved group for the first assistants (4.72%) and the scrub nurses (6.60%), respectively. The average occurrence of perforation was 69.8 minutes (range, 20-110 min) after the beginning of surgery. The sites of perforation were localized mostly on the left middle finger (42%) and the left ring finger (33.3%).

Conclusions: Based on the findings of the study, double-gloving is indeed effective in protecting operating room nurses against blood-borne pathogen exposure. It should be introduced as a routine practice.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood-Borne Pathogens
  • Equipment Failure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Gloves, Surgical*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital*
  • Perioperative Nursing*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / statistics & numerical data