Static electricity as a mechanism of bacterial transfer during endoscopic surgery
Abstract Background: During endoscopic surgery it is often difficult to describe the procedure based on the video screen image. To compensate, the surgeon may point to the monitor to define more exactly what is intended by the verbal cues. Experiments were conducted to determine if the electrostatic field of the monitor could serve as a mechanism of bacterial transfer from the video screen to the patient. Methods: A gloved hand traversed the monitor in a standard fashion at varying distances from the screen. The fingertips were then cultured onto blood agar plates. Results: Bacterial growth occurred on 28 of the 30 cultures taken at 1, 2, and 4 cm from the video screen. No growth occurred on any of the 8 cm cultures, or the 20 controls. The number of bacterial colonies cultured from the glove was inversely related to the distance between the glove and video screen ( p Conclusions: We conclude the electrostatic field generated by the video monitor could serve as a mechanism of bacterial contamination during endoscopic surgery. Also, we conclude that placing the gloved hand in proximity to the video monitor screen during an operative procedure constitutes a break in sterile technique and must be avoided.
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