Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Operating Room Nurses Understand Unnecessary Risk of Glove Powder, Yet Many Facilities Still Use Powdered Gloves

ORLANDO, Fla., March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Operating room nurses attending last week's Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) 54thCongress in Orlando, FL, report that while they understand glove powder causes unnecessary risk to healthcare workers and patients, nevertheless a majority of the healthcare facilities in which they work continue to use atleast some powdered gloves.
They also agree that a Latex-SAFE environmentis the most recommended way to address the issue of latex allergies and sensitization in healthcare facilities.
In a random sample of 822 operating room nurses at the AORN Congress,Molnlycke Health Care US, asked about glove powder and latex safety issues.
Ninety-one (91) percent of attendees responding to the survey acknowledgedthat glove powder is an unnecessary risk for healthcare workers and patients. However, when asked if their facility uses any powdered gloves,more than half (59 percent) of respondents reported that they do.
According to the survey, 83 percent of respondents believe creation of a Latex-SAFE environment is the most recommended way to address the issue of latex allergies and sensitization in healthcare facilities. Almost three- fourths (73 percent) of respondents agreed that a latex-SAFEenvironment is defined as powder-free, low protein latex gloves ornon-latex alternatives, plus having latex-safe education and policies inplace.
When asked how important it is for healthcare facilities to provide education programs on latex allergy and powder-related issues, 93 percentof respondents said "very important." However, when asked if their hospita lprovides education programs on latex allergy and powder-related issues,only two-thirds (66 percent) said that they do.
Powder-Free Powdered latex gloves should not be used for surgical procedures because it is the starch powder itself that promotes the transfer of allergenic latex proteins.(1) Delayed wound healing and many postoperative complications including adhesions and granulomas also are associated withthe use of powdered gloves. The risk of postoperative adhesions and accompanying costs of treatment can be decreased with the use ofpowder-free gloves.
(2) Hospitals adopting powder-free latex glove policies report reductionsin glove-related allergy incidence.
(3) There is a reported 1 percent annualincidence of sensitization among powdered latex-glove users, whereas usersof powder-free, low-protein, latex gloves report a 0 percent sensitizationrate.
(4) Latex-SAFE Hospitals and surgical centers should opt for latex-SAFE environmentglove choices to decrease the risk of latex allergy as well as assureexcellent barrier protection, surgeon and healthcare worker comfort, andcost- effectiveness, according to Molnlycke Health Care US, LLC,manufacturer of the Biogel(R) surgical glove line.
The Biogel product line has been responding to the ever-changing needs of healthcare professionals since 1983 and is committed to protecting people's health and well-being. "Making informed glove choices to combat latex allergy is paramount,"says G.L. Sussman, MD, FRCP, professor of immunology, University ofToronto. "What's happening now is a latex-SAFE evolution. The choice is for latex-SAFE environment, rather than non-latex. The industry is learning that it doesn't have to be all or nothing.
A latex-SAFE environment allows an individual worker or patient to be less likely to have latex allergy issues."
Additionally, the United States Army Medical Command's latex allergy prevention policy advises "focus on latex-safe rather than latex-free."
(5) A latex-SAFE environment is one in which every reasonable effort has been made to remove high-allergen and airborne latex sources from coming into direct contact with affected individuals, according to AORN's 2007 Latex Allergy Guidelines.
The Guidelines go on to state that a latex-freeenvironment (one in which all latex-containing products, not simply gloves,have been removed) is considered unattainable
.(6) Latex-SAFE Environment Glove Solutions Molnlycke recommends the use of latex, deproteinised latex andnon-latex glove styles to address both general surgery and specialty needsin a latex- SAFE environment.
"Hospitals and surgical centers need to understand their gloving choices and as informed consumers select the best protection for healthcare workers and patients," Carolyn Twomey, RN, vice president of clinical and technical affairs, says.
"For 13 years, we have been using Biogel(R) powder-free surgical glovesexclusively. With the help of Biogel, we created a latex-SAFE environment to help ensure the safety of both patients and healthcare workers at Brigham and Women's Hospital," says Peggy Doyle, director of perioperative nursing, surgical services, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston.
As the only major surgical glove company with an exclusivelypowder-free surgical glove line, Molnlycke's Biogel(R) surgical gloves aremade from high- tech material to which is bonded a thin inner coating ofacrylate terpolymer. The smooth inner surface allows Biogel gloves to be
easily donned with damp or dry hands without the need for a powder lubricant. This not only eliminates the risk of powder-relatedpostoperative complications, but also reduces the risk of allergicreactions to aerosolized natural rubber latex proteins.
1 Beezhold D, Beck WC, Surgical Glove Powders Bind Latex Antigens, Archives of Surgery 1992; 127: 1354-1357. 2 FDA Medical Glove Powder Report - E, September 1992. 3 Allmers H. Et al. J. Allerg. Clin. Immunol. 2004 ; 114 : 347-51. 4 G L Sussman et al, "Incidence of latex sensitization among latex glove users," Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 101 (February 1998) 171-178. 5 Department of the Army, Headquarters United States Army Medical Command, MEDCOM Regulation No. 40-44, 6 June 2002, p. 3. 6 AORN 2007 Latex Guidelines, Standards, Recommended Practices, and Guidelines, pages 199-214.

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