Survey Reveals Double Gloving Occurs 42 Percent as Frequently as It Should


NEW ORLEANS -- Although they are "very concerned" about the need to double glove as a means of protection against potential exposure to blood and body fluids during surgery, operating room nurses at this week's Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Congress in New Orleans report they only double glove 42 percent as much as they think they should.

In a random sample of approximately 1,500 operating room nurses at the AORN Congress, Regent Medical asked about double gloving issues. Regent Medical is committed to the science of protection for healthcare professionals.

One-fourth (24 percent) of operating room nurses responding to the survey indicated that they currently double glove during 100 percent of their cases. Another 26 percent of respondents say they only double glove during 10 percent of their surgical cases. However, 41 percent feel they should double glove all the time -- in 100 percent of their cases.

When asked how concerned they are about the need to double glove, 47 percent of respondents reported that they are "very concerned," while 30 percent said they were "somewhat concerned."

Only 17 percent of operating room nurses responding to the survey said their hospital or surgical facility has a protocol requiring double gloving.

Additionally, 86 percent of survey respondents said they believed that visibly seeing where a breach has occurred when it happens would be superior protection.

"Double gloving should be routinely used in major surgery," says Ronald L. Nichols, MD, William Henderson professor of surgery-emeritus and professor of microbiology and immunology at Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans. "I believe this will greatly help protect the healthcare worker and patient from exposure to microorganisms and blood borne viruses," Dr. Nichols adds.

Decreasing Risk
According to Dr. Nichols, "The most critical factors in the prevention of postoperative infections, although difficult to quantify, are the sound judgment and proper technique of the surgeon and surgical team, as well as the general health and disease state of the patient."1

Double gloving can significantly decrease risk.2 Professional societies also support double gloving as a means of reducing risk in certain procedures. The Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses states, "Wearing two pairs of gloves (i.e., double-gloving) may be indicated for some procedures to reduce the potential for contact with blood and body fluids."3 The American College of Surgeons Committee on Operating Room Environment says, "Double gloving does help to cut down by a factor of ten the number of potential exposures ... "4

A healthcare professional's risk of exposure and the subsequent potential for seroconversion can be significant. Published seroconversion rates are hepatitis B virus (HBV), 1/10; hepatitis C virus (HCV), 1/20; and HIV, 1/300.5

"Double gloving is an important risk management tool," says Carolyn Twomey, director of clinical affairs, Regent Medical. "Industry surveys show glove failure rates vary from 11 percent to 51 percent,6 so we believe it is critical to take measures to protect both the practitioner and the patient as much as possible. Our patented Biogel® Indicator color puncture indication system is the only proven system that clearly lets you know when the outer glove has been breached in the presence of fluid," Twomey adds. Use of a double indicator glove system results in significantly greater detection of punctures (78 percent) during the operation than using single glove (42 percent).7

(1) Nichols RL. Preventing Surgical Site Infections: A Surgeon's Perspective. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2001; (7)2.
(2) Perry J, Jagger J. Lessons from an HCV-Infected Surgeon. Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons 2002; 87:8-13. Accessed at: on September 24, 2002. Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions. AORN 2002 Standards, Recommended Practices and Guidelines; AORN:2002.
(3) AORN. 2002 Standards, Recommended Practices and Guidelines:2002. AORN, Inc.
(4) ACS. Preventing Disease in the Operating Room. Panel discussion. American College of Surgeons Spring Meeting. April 29, 1998. Accessed at
(5) OSHA seeks plan to curb needlesticks. The American College of Orthopedic Surgeons Bulletin 1998; 1 (84).
(6) Quebbeman EJ, et al. Double Gloving: Protecting Surgeons from blood contamination in the operative room, Archives of Surgery 1992;127:213-217.
(7) Naver LPS, Gottrup F, Incidence of glove performance in gastrointestinal surgery and the prospective, randomized controlled study, Eur J Surg 2000: 166:293-295.

About Regent Medical
Regent Medical Ltd has been responding to the ever-changing needs of healthcare professionals since 1983 and is committed to providing the science of protection. Offering a comprehensive product line of high quality, technically advanced surgical gloves and skin antisepsis products, Regent Medical provides Biogel powder-free, latex surgical gloves, Biogel Skinsense powder-free, non-latex surgical gloves, Biogel Optifit powder-free surgical gloves, HIBICLENS® antiseptic/antimicrobial skin cleanser and HIBISTAT® waterless germicidal hand rinse products.

Source: Regent Medical Ltd

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