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J Hosp Infect. 2006 Jun;63(2):167-9. Epub 2006 Apr 17.

Blood pressure cuffs: friend or foe?

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Department of Microbiology, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Preston, UK.


A study to assess the level of bacterial contamination of blood pressure cuffs in use on hospital wards was performed. Viable organisms were recovered from all the 24 cuffs sampled at a density of between 1000 and >25 000 colony-forming units/100 cm2. Potential pathogens were isolated from 14 cuffs (58%). Eleven cuffs grew a single pathogen and three cuffs grew a mixture, yielding a total of 18 isolates. Meticillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from eight (33%) cuffs, meticillin-resistant S. aureus was isolated from two (8%) cuffs and Clostridium difficile was isolated from eight (33%) cuffs. This study serves as a reminder that hands are not the only fomite to go from patient to patient on hospital wards, and that measures should be taken to reduce the risks posed by blood pressure cuffs.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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