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Non-touch suturing technique fails to reduce glove puncture rates in an accident and emergency department
  1. T K McAdam,
  2. R E McLaughlin,
  3. B McNicholl
  1. Emergency Department, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Mr B McNicholl
 Emergency Department, Royal Victoria Hospital, Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6BA, UK;


Objective: To assess the impact of introducing a safer non-touch suturing technique into an inner city emergency department.

Methods: The rate of glove perforation, measured by electrical conductance, was used as a marker. Gloves (Bodyguards) used in suturing were collected over a two month period. Two half day suture workshops were then conducted in the emergency department and gloves were collected for a further two months. All doctors (14) were included in the study regardless of grade. Gloves were tested for perforation by electrical conductance.

Results: There were 107 gloves and 19 perforations in the first group, 133 with 28 perforations in the second (p = 0.52), and one perforation in 100 control gloves. Most doctors reported inadvertent needlestick handling.

Conclusion: Two half day suturing workshops are not enough to reduce glove perforations from suturing in the emergency department. Difficulty with compliance suggests that safe suturing practice must be taught before doctors develop bad habits that are difficult to change.

  • needlestick injury
  • blood borne viruses
  • gloves
  • suturing

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