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August 1963

Aseptic Barriers

Arch Surg. 1963;87(2):288-296. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1963.01310140096017

An aseptic barrier may be defined as a material placed between an aseptic area, such as an operative incision, and areas which harbor microorganisms with the purpose of preventing the spread of bacteria into the sterile zone. Examples of such barriers are rubber gloves, gowns, masks, drapes, as well as wrappers for materials which have been subjected to steam sterilization. Such barriers are in widespread use, yet criteria for their efficiency are barely existent. This study does not establish criteria but is intended to explore some of the methods by which barrier efficiency might be determined.

The motility of certain bacterial species has been studied by various investigators, but because of the experimental conditions usually employed, these studies are not significant in surgical bacteriology. In general, bacteria are transported from one area to another by some vehicle such as dust, water, or a human or other animate vector. When we