Cleaned, Reusable ECG Lead Wires May Pose Contamination Risk

April 1, 2011 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​A study published in the November 2010 issue of the American Journal of Critical Care (Albert et al.) found that many of the cleaned, reusable electrocardiographic (ECG) lead wires in four U.S. hospitals were contaminated with bacteria. The authors classified the risks from bacterial infection as follows:

Of the 320 ECG leads evaluated, 201 were contaminated; the bacteria species found included 9 at-risk species (found in 25 cultures), 5 potential-risk species (found in 102 cultures), and 10 no- or rare-risk species (found in 99 cultures). Nine bacteria species were resistant to penicillin and...

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