Researchers have identified a potential cross infection risk associated with laryngoscope handles in anaesthetic rooms.
It is standard practice to use sterile or disposable laryngoscope blades but disinfection of laryngoscope handles is not routine in clinical practice.
The researcher looked at 192 specimens from 64 laryngoscope handles that were ready for patient use in the anaesthetic rooms of 32 operating theatres and assessed them for bacterial contamination.
One or more species of bacteria were isolated from 86% of the handles.
The majority of the organisms isolated were not pathogenic but the authors noted that their presence indicates the potential for transmission of pathogens from laryngoscope handles.
The study recommends that procedures for disinfection and storage of laryngoscope handles should be revised and the use of disposable handles or sheaths should be considered. They also suggest redesign of handles to eliminate patterned surfaces.