MRSA On Your Stethoscope?

Stethoscope By: Adrian

What Are the chances that there’s MRSA (Methicilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) on your stethoscope right now? If you climbed into the back of your rig and picked up a random stethoscope, or even your own, and hung it around your neck, what are the chances that you’d be carrying a mobile colony of MRSA right under your chin?

The answer is probably greater than you think. Thanks to a study published in Prehospital Emergency Care we can estimate that darn near one in three ambulance providers are carrying MRSA on their stethoscopes.

Researchers tested the stethoscopes of 50 consecutive EMS providers who visited the emergency room. The swabs were cultured for 72 hours and the cultures were analyzed by three specialists separately. The culture was only considered positive if all three agreed.

A full 32 percent of the stethoscopes tested positive for MRSA. It stands to reason that he biggest predictor of whether a given steth would test positive or not was the reported time from last cleaning to testing. The take home message is clean you tools. Few of us do this as well as we should. When you’re back there after a call wiping down the rig, don’t forget about that stethoscope and BP cuff. And how about those monitor leads and pulse ox too.

Comments

  1. THERE IS A COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE DISPOSABLE ACOUSTIC DIAPHRAGM FOR STETHOSCOPES.
    IT IS UNACCEPTABLE AND UNBELIEVABLE THAT THEIR USE IS NOT MANDATORY. STETHOSCOPES ARE USED 25 MILLION TIMES IN THE USA ALONE AND ALL ARE CONTAMINATED. THERE ARE 100’S OF REFERENCES IN THE MEDICAL LITERATURE ON THE SUBJECT. EMT’S ARE THE FIRST LINE OF PROTECTION, YET THEIR EQUIPMENT IS CONTAMINATED WITH MRSA! OF ALL THINGS!
    THE INFECTED STETHOSCOPES IS NOT A SURPRISE, THAT THE SOLUTION IS NOT IMPLEMENTED AND ENFORCED IS UNACCEPTABLE. IT WILL OCCUR AT THE TIME OF A LITIGATION, SO THERE IS HOPE.

  2. Or you could just clean your stethoscope like everyone else…
    Either or.

Trackbacks

  1. […] positive and I think we’re off to a good start. In February we warned you about MRSA on your stethoscope, helped you classify and treat burn injuries, talked about the issues with hydrogen sulfide […]

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