Needlestick injuries among anesthesia providers
Study objective: Anesthesiologists are at high risk for needlestick injury. Such injuries pose a serious health threat from exposure to bloodborne pathogens. This retrospective analysis aimed to examine needlestick injury rate among anesthesia providers between 2010 and 2020 at the University of California Los Angeles, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine to determine specialty-specific factors associated with these injuries.
Design: Retrospective analysis.
Setting: Academic Anesthesiology Department.
Patients and interventions: None.
Measurements: All reported incidents of needlestick injuries to employees are sent to the Injury and Illness Prevention Committee. We included all anesthesia residents, fellows, nurse anesthetists, solo anesthesiologists, and supervising anesthesiologists.
Main results: The overall rate of reported needlestick injuries was 5.3%. The rates for anesthesia residents were 2.1%, 13.5%, 7.9%, and 6.7% for post graduate year 1-4 (PGY 1-4) residents. The rates were 14.3%, 4.7%, 2.1%, and 6.9% for fellows, nurse anesthetists, supervising anesthesiologists, and solo anesthesiologists, respectively. We found that PGY2 residents had a higher injury rate than PGY1 residents (p-value<0.001). When grouping PGY2, PGY3, and PGY4 residents together, they had a collective rate of 9.4%. Furthermore, residents had a higher needlestick injury rate than supervising anesthesiologists (p-value <0.001).
Conclusions: PGY2 residents and fellows had the highest rate of needlestick injury. Our study highlights the trend of increasing sharps injuries after PGY1 while supervising anesthesiologists had the lowest rate. Proposed mechanisms for the increased sharps injuries include residents’ transition from medicine-based internship to the operating room environment with increased exposure to potentially injurious equipment, overnight call, and increased work-related and cognitive stress. Improving understanding of institution-specific prevention programs, raising awareness during their initial high-intensity training period with one-to-one supervision when habits are formed, and reducing exposure to sharps using a needleless system are some steps toward reducing the incidence of sharps injuries in a field where the risk remains high.
Borna R, Rahimian R, Natalie Koons BS, Grogan TR, Umar S, Turner J. Needlestick injuries among anesthesia providers from a large US academic center: A 10-year retrospective analysis. J Clin Anesth. 2022 May 26;80:110885. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinane.2022.110885. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35644082.