The objective of this study was to investigate the nationwide use of disposable and non-disposable venepuncture tourniquets and the standardised procedures for cleaning the tourniquets” Petersen and Nybo (2018).
Tourniquets are widely used to make the vein more visible prior to blood collection. Venepuncture tourniquets are however a non-sterile and potentially reusable equipment. Several studies have shown that they are colonised by a variety of pathogenic bacteria and consecutively use of the same tourniquet on multiple patients will increase the risk of a nosocomial infection. This matter is however only scarcely studied. The objective of this study was to investigate the nationwide use of disposable and non-disposable venepuncture tourniquets and the standardised procedures for cleaning the tourniquets. A questionnaire concerning use and cleaning of tourniquets was therefore sent to all major Danish clinical biochemistry laboratories (n = 12). All but one laboratory had a local procedure for usage and handling of tourniquets, including structured procedures for cleaning. Despite this, only 75% of laboratories had a guideline for cleaning the tourniquets and only 50% had a specified cleaning program. At the hospitals using non-disposable tourniquets the handling differed considerably and at two hospitals the tourniquets were only cleaned once a week, while one laboratory did not clean the tourniquet before it was visibly stained. Of note, five of the eight hospitals using disposable tourniquets only disposed the tourniquets on a daily basis. In conclusion, there is a lack of guidelines for handling tourniquets in 25-33% of the hospitals and a number of hospitals used both types (disposable and non-disposable), which could confuse the handling of the tourniquets. A national guideline for usage and cleaning of venepuncture tourniquets is therefore strongly recommended.
Petersen, E.R.B. and Nybo, M. (2018) Hygiene of venepuncture tourniquets in Denmark. Scandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation. June 10th. .