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Orthopedics. 2006 Aug;29(8):709-13.

Microbial colonization of tourniquets used in orthopedic surgery.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery Rhode Island Hospital, USA.


This study analyzed tourniquets used for orthopedic surgery in our hospital to determine the frequency and type of microbial contamination. Group A tourniquets were from our main operating room, Group B tourniquets were from our ambulatory surgicenter, Group C tourniquets were unused, prepackaged, sterile tourniquets from our main operating room, and Group D tourniquets were sterilely packed tourniquets from our ambulatory surgicenter. Tourniquets from Groups A, B, C, and D had 100%, 40%, 0%, and 0% microbial growth, respectively. For Group A tourniquets, coagulase-negative staphylococci, Bacillus, and Staphylococcus aureus were present in 100%, 60%, and 20% of tourniquets, respectively. Twenty percent were contaminated either with Streptococcus sanguis, Aerococcus viridans, or Cornyebacterium species. Coagulase-negative staphylococci and Bacillus were present in 40% and 30% of Group B tourniquets, respectively. Tourniquet contamination may be a risk factor for the development of surgical site infection in orthopedic surgery.

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