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Uncleaned Anesthesia Equipment

Gale E. Dryden, MD
JAMA. 1975;233(12):1297-1298. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260120059024.
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PAIN RELIEF and patient jeopardy are often partners when general anesthesia is administered through unclean equipment. A 1968 survey1 of teaching hospitals disclosed that all parts of the anesthesia equipment were not being cleaned, even though cultures of the patient's exposed air passages were positive in many cases. There are scattered reports in the scientific literature proving the pathway of disease transmission from anesthesia equipment.2-4 The morbidity and mortality statistics resulting directly from unclean anesthesia equipment have not been studied. However, the concept of aseptic technique in medical practice should be sufficient to induce the anesthesia teams to develop bacterially clean systems for each patient.

The effectiveness of clean anesthesia systems for general anesthesia has been reported by Albrecht and Dryden,5 who showed a decrease from 27% to 6% in the incidence of pulmonary complications when all parts of the anesthesia apparatus were cleaned after every use.


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