A Microbiological Assay of Common Operating Room Tapes: Developing a Culture for Patient Safety


A Microbiological Assay of Common Operating Room Tapes: Developing a Culture for Patient Safety


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Training Level

Resident PGY 4


Henry Ford Hospital


Introduction: A medical adhesive tape is a ubiquitous and essential piece of equipment that is used in almost all of the patients admitted to the hospital. As a medical equipment, adhesive tapes are unique as it is almost never washed or sterilized after the initial opening of the package. Current literature reports that 74% of specimens of tape collected in one hospital were colonized by pathogenic bacteria. Primary Objective: Culture results of inner and outer layers of Plastic (TRANSPORE) and cloth silk tapes (DURAPORE) collected from various OR and non- OR sites associated with anesthesia providers. Material and Methods: The investigators collected four types of specimen during the study. Ten new tape rolls from unopened boxes in storage (Negative control) were collected first followed by 50 tape rolls collected from carts, lab coat pockets, other areas (active test specimens). Then, the investigators used next inner layers of the tape from active test specimens. Finally, the investigators collected 10 tape specimens that were removed from 10 different patients during normal standard care of patients (positive control). All rolls were meticulously handled through the central hole using sterile gloves and placed in a sterile, unopened biohazard bag. Results: The negative control group in which the tapes were removed from unopened boxes in the Anesthesia stock room reported no growth in all 20 specimens (10 Durapore and 10 Transpore specimens). Out of 11 OR (11 Durapore and 11 Transpore tapes) that were randomly sampled 9 ORs had significant growth of multiple colonies of various species of microbes. As compared to the negative control the OR tapes had significant growth of microbes (p value < 0.0001).Quality Initiative: After getting the results we discarded all tapes from the OR that reported infection and replaced them with sterile tapes from workroom. Furthermore, we urged the residents to take the tapes in sterile fashion in biohazard bags to be used for securing ET tubes etc. The tapes taken in sterile fashion from workroom and used to secure ET tubes reported no growth. Discussion and Conclusion: A close to 2 million hospitalized patients develop healthcare associated infections. The source of these infections may be unknown, but the consequences are profound, including increased costs, selection pressure for drug resistant organisms. We propose that ETT and Oro/ nasogastric tubes should be packed with a single use tape used for securing the device to limit cross-infection.

Presentation Date


A Microbiological Assay of Common Operating Room Tapes: Developing a Culture for Patient Safety