As the results of a new study by researchers from Switzerland, stethoscopes are mostly more contaminated than the hands of doctors.
Experts found that most bacteria stethoscope diaphragm cover - part of a customized device adjustable finger touches the doctor and to the patient's body. There are more microorganisms in this place than on the doctor's hands, with the exception of fingertips.
During the experiment, 71 patients were examined by one of three doctors. In the control group, the doctor used sterile gloves, and a sterile stethoscope. Then the researchers tested the degree of bacterial contamination in two parts stethoscope - tube and diaphragm, and in four places in the hands of the doctor - the back of the hands, fingers, an area near the base of the thumb and region around the little finger. Researchers found the highest degree of pollution in the aperture, and at the fingertips.
The study also showed that there is a relationship between the degree of contamination of the diaphragm and finger physician. "The more you have bacteria on the fingertips, the more you find bacteria on the membrane stethoscope," - said study author Dr. Didier Pitt, director of infection control at the clinic of the University of Geneva. At the same time, there are no official guidelines that prescribe how often medical staff must wash their stethoscopes, researchers say.
The results of their work may initiate the development of new hygiene rules for patient safety. "This means that the stethoscope should be disinfected after each individual application, which is usually done on accepted," - said Pitt.