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February 1992

Double GlovingProtecting Surgeons From Blood Contamination in the Operating Room

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery (Drs Quebbeman and Telford, and Mss Wadsworth, Hubbard, and Goodman) and Division of Biostatistics (Dr Gottlieb), Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Arch Surg. 1992;127(2):213-217. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1992.01420020103014

• Health care workers, particularly surgeons, understand the importance of preventing contamination from blood of patients infected with deadly viruses. One of the most common areas of contamination is the hands and fingers due to the failure of glove protection. There are varying opinions regarding the frequency of glove failure, the necessity of wearing two gloves for added protection, and the ability to operate when wearing two gloves. We performed a prospective, randomized, trial of 143 procedures involving 284 persons to answer these questions for surgeons and first assistants. Overall, the glove failure rate (blood contamination of the fingers) was 51% when one glove was worn and 7% when two gloves were worn. Acceptability was 88% in the group who agreed to wear two gloves, and 88% of these did not perceive that tactile sense was significantly impaired. We believe that double gloving should be, and can be, used routinely during major surgical procedures to protect surgeons from blood contamination.

(Arch Surg. 1992;127:213-217)