Percutaneous injuries in anesthesia personnel

Anesth Analg. 1996 Aug;83(2):273-8. doi: 10.1097/00000539-199608000-00013.


Anesthesia personnel are at risk for occupationally acquired blood-borne infections from human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis viruses, and others after percutaneous exposures to infected blood or body fluids. The risk is greater after an infected, blood-contaminated, percutaneous injury, especially from a hollow-bore blood-filled needle, than from other types of exposures. Few data are available on the specific occupational hazards to anesthesia personnel from needles and other sharp devices. Fifty-eight percutaneous injuries (PIs) from anesthesia personnel in nine hospitals were analyzed. Thirty-nine of 58 PIs were from contaminated devices (all needles), and 19 were from uncontaminated devices or of unknown contamination status. Forty-three percent of contaminated percutaneous injuries (CPI) were classified as moderate (some bleeding) or severe (deep injury with profuse bleeding), and most were to health-care workers' hands. Fifty-nine percent of CPI were potentially preventable. Eighty-seven percent of CPI were from hollow-bore needles, and 68% of these were potentially preventable. The largest categories of devices causing CPI were needle on syringe, intravenous (i.v.) or arterial catheter needle-stylet, suture needle, and standard hollow-bore needle for secondary i.v. infusion. Most CPI occurred between steps of a multistep procedure (8%), were recapping related (13%), or occurred at other times after use (41%). No CPI were reported from use of needlestick-prevention safety devices. The devices and mechanisms of injury identified in this study provide specific data that may lead to prevention strategies to reduce the risk of PI.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesiology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Blood-Borne Pathogens
  • Catheterization, Peripheral / instrumentation
  • Equipment Contamination
  • HIV
  • Hand Injuries / epidemiology
  • Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis Viruses
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous / instrumentation
  • Injections, Intravenous / instrumentation
  • Needles
  • Needlestick Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Needlestick Injuries / prevention & control
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Protective Devices
  • Risk Factors
  • Suture Techniques / instrumentation
  • Syringes