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BACKGROUND: There are no existing practices or methods to ensure cleanliness, sterility, or prevent cross-contamination when it comes to common operating room (OR) tape. The authors hypothesized that adhesive tapes used by anesthesia providers in ORs and off-site surgical areas might be colonized by microorganisms and that culturing these tape rolls would reveal significant monomicrobial and polymicrobial contamination.

Material and Methods: The primary objective of this observational cohort study was to report and compare contamination rate including polymicrobial contamination rate between tape specimens collected from storage site and specimen from the ORs, off-sites, and after use on a patient. The outcome measures were the culture reports of the adhesive tapes. The authors then designed an intervention that integrated anesthesia providers' hand hygiene and maintenance of a barrier between the OR tapes and OR surfaces.

RESULTS: The authors reported gross contamination and cross-contamination among the OR off-site tapes. The contamination rates reported for tapes from OR, off-site specimens, and patient specimens were 68.2%,63.2%, and 100%, respectively. The authors again cultured adhesive tapes after the intervention and reported improved outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: The current quality improvement (QI) project identified the potential for OR tapes to serve as microbial vectors. The authors advocate environmental decontamination and anesthesia providers' hand hygiene in parallel as a part of routine anesthesia care in their practice and agree that the endotracheal tubes (ETTs) and orogastric or nasogastric tubes should be pre-packaged with single-use tape, which can be used for securing devices.

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