Article

The risk of cross-infection when marking surgical patients prior to surgery review of two types of marking pens

Department of Orthopaedics, Leighton Hospital, Crewe, Cheshire, UK.
Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England (Impact Factor: 1.22). 04/2007; 89(3):226-8. DOI: 10.1308/003588407X168406
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Two types of marker pens were compared to find whether they produced different risks of infection transmission over different time intervals.
Twenty-four patients were marked according to the type of surgery: each had a set of new dry white-board marker (DWM) and a permanent marker (PM) pen. Once used, their tips were used to inoculate blood agar plates at different time intervals.
At 0 min, 96% of the DWM pens and 29% of the PM pens were positive of growth. At 3 and 10 min, all of the DWM pens remained positive. The rate dropped to 16.67% in 3 min down to none at 10 min for the PM pens.
DWM pens carry a significant risk of transmitting infection between patients. It is recommended that they are not used in marking. PM pens should not be used between patients in less than a 10-min interval.

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