Evolution of the medical devices for the protection of healthcare workers. Prevention of hemocontact infections in patients with an uncertain status
Background. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is an item of clothing designed to protect healthcare workers (HCW) or others from infection. PPE includes gloves, masks, gowns, respirators, goggles, face shields, headgear, boot covers, rubber shoes, and more.
Objective. To describe the evolution of medical devices for HCW protection.
Materials and methods. Review of literature data on this issue.
Results and discussion. Medical gloves are divided into sterile and non-sterile. The purpose of wearing non-sterile gloves is to prevent contamination of the hands of HCW with microorganisms. They should be worn when there is a risk of contact with blood or other body fluids, patient secretions, or contaminated equipment. Gloves do not protect against contamination and after their use it is still necessary to treat hands with antiseptic. Latex gloves have good elasticity and flexibility, are convenient and anatomically suitable for hands, have a good sensitivity to touch. However, they can cause allergies or skin irritation. Latex allergy is the most common cause of perioperative anaphylaxis in children. It is recommended to use powder-free gloves. Nitrile gloves for examination manufactured by “Yuria-Pharm” are characterized by high toughness, elongated cuff, and special texture facilitating holding the instruments. Surgical masks consist of three layers of thermoplastic polymer located between the layers of nonwoven fabric. They are designed to protect against pathogens (mainly bacteria) transmitted in large droplets (>5 μm). The Cochrane review did not show any convincing effect of wearing of surgical masks on reducing the risk of infectious complications during sterile surgical procedures. WHO recommends wearing surgical masks to prevent the transmission of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). N95 or FFP3 class respirators are recommended for aerosol-generating procedures (tracheal intubation, bronchoscopy) and for dangerous infections. N95 respirators are the standard for working with patients with COVID-19 in USA. They can be with a valve or without it. These respirators consist of thermoplastic polymer and nonwoven fabric and filter 95 % of particles sized ≥0.3 μm. They should tightly fit to the face and be tested for leaks before the contact with patient. A similar tactic should be used when wearing FFP3 respirator. Valve respirators are easier to use because the presence of a valve facilitates exhalation. The valve also increases comfort and prevents excessive accumulation of moisture under the respirator. Such respirators do not filter the exhaled air, so they do not protect others from infection. Another field of PPE application is its usage in hematocontact infections caused by hepatitis B/C virus and human immunodeficiency virus. The risk of HCW infection is associated with pricks, cuts, contact with the patient’s body fluids, and any invasive diagnostic or treatment procedures. The risk of patient’s infection is present in case of the improper instruments sterilization, use of non-sterile infusion solutions, transfusion of blood and its components, transplantation, and contact with biological fluids of the infected HCW. To reduce the risk of HCW infection, always wear gloves if there is a risk of contact with blood or other body fluids; never put the cap on the needle after using it; always keep a container for sharp objects on hand; carry out the necessary vaccinations; use PPE and safety needles, scalpels and syringes.
Conclusions. 1. Wearing masks reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission. 2. During aerosol-generating procedures it is necessary to use all available PPE. 3. When wearing a respirator, it is advisable to check its tightness. 4. The number of extra injections should be minimized.
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