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Br J Surg. 1993 Nov;80(11):1379-80.

Eye protection for the vascular surgeon.

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Department of Vascular Surgery, Freeman Hospital, High Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Contamination occurring during vascular surgery was studied prospectively using a surgical mask incorporating a Splashguard visor. Over a 16-week period 78 vascular procedures were included; 44 were of < 2 h duration and 34 were of > or = 2 h. Contamination on both mask and visor from blood spots was recorded at the end of each procedure. Overall, 51 per cent of principal surgeons' visors were contaminated, with contamination of the mask itself in 32 per cent. When two surgeons were operating the contamination rate for the second was also high: 36 per cent for the visor and 42 per cent for the mask. Assistants had a contamination rate of 36 per cent for the visor and 13 per cent for the mask. The lowest rate of contamination occurred for the visor and mask of the scrub nurse, 10 and 4 per cent respectively. For emergency procedures the duration of operation had no influence on the frequency of contamination. However, for the principal surgeon elective operations of < 2 h duration were less likely to involve contamination than those of > or = 2 h (P < 0.035). Blood contamination of visors and masks is common in vascular surgery but rarely appreciated by the surgeon. Routine eye protection should be considered in vascular surgery, in particular for emergency and prolonged elective procedures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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