Prevention of occupational transmission of human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis B virus among anesthesiologists: a survey of anesthesiology practice

Anesth Analg. 1994 Oct;79(4):623-8. doi: 10.1213/00000539-199410000-00002.


In light of the increasing prevalence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV), anesthesiologists are now likely to see more patients who are at high risk for these viruses. Therefore, it is important that they adopt infection control policies aimed at preventing occupational transmission of these and other pathogens during their clinical practice. This study was designed, using a questionnaire format, to evaluate anesthesiologist compliance with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for the prevention of occupational transmission of HIV and HBV. A total of 1149 questionnaires were mailed to anesthesiologists randomly selected from the members' directory of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). Of these, 493 (44%) were completed and returned. Eighty-eight percent of respondents reported that they always complied with CDC guidelines when presented with an HIV-infected patient, but only 24.7% adhered to the guidelines when the patient was considered low risk (P < 0.01). This trend was also reflected in the use of gloves and other protective wear in the perioperative period. Although 70% of respondents indicated that they recapped needles on a regular basis, this practice was not associated with an increased incidence of needlestick injuries. However, anesthesiologists who reported recapping needles using the one-handed technique were less likely to sustain a needlestick injury than those who recapped using the two-handed technique. Thirty-one percent and 72% of respondents respectively reported a clean or contaminated needlestick within the preceeding 12 mo. Only 45.4% of those receiving a contaminated needlestick sought treatment.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesiology / statistics & numerical data*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Needlestick Injuries / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Diseases / virology
  • Prevalence
  • Protective Clothing
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology