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  1. The Stethoscope. A potential source of nosocomial infection ?

    Article - En anglais


    Stethoscope diaphragms have been shown to harbor potentially pathogenic bacteria.


    To assess bacterial contamination on the diaphragm and under the plastic rim that secures the diaphragm of stethoscopes of physicians, nurses, medical students, and house staff in an intensive care unit and a general medical ward of a large university hospital.

    Also to compare the effectiveness of various cleaning agents and assess the transmissibility of bacteria from contaminated stethoscopes to human skin.


    Aerobic and anaerobic bacterial cultures were performed on 40 randomly selected stethoscopes.

    We compared the effects of isopropyl alcohol, sodium hypochlorite (bleach), and benzalkonium chloride swabs, as well as soap and water, on reducing bacterial contamination on the stethoscope diaphragm and under the rim.

    The transmissibility of Micrococcus luteus inoculated onto a stethoscope diaphragm to clean human skin was also determined.


    Eleven genera and species of bacteria were isolated, with coagulase-negative staphylococcus present on 100% of stethoscopes and Staphylococcus aureus on 38%. Clostridium difficile was not isolated.

    The mean (±SE) number of total colony-forming units was 158±33 per diaphragm and 289±54 per rim.

    Physicians'stethoscope diaphragms had significantly more colony-forming units of coagulase-negative staphylococci than those of nurses : 163±44 vs 50±12, respectively (P=02). (...)

    Mots-clés Pascal : Stéthoscope, Association, Facteur risque, Infection nosocomiale, Etude comparative, Relation médecin malade, Contamination, Service hospitalier, Prévention, Homme, Organisation santé, Bactériose, Infection

    Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Stethoscope, Association, Risk factor, Nosocomial infection, Comparative study, Physician patient relation, Contamination, Hospital ward, Prevention, Human, Public health organization, Bacteriosis, Infection

    Logo du centre Notice produite par :
    Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique

    Cote : 97-0257775

    Code Inist : 002B05B01. Création : 11/06/1997.