September 23, 2019

Effect of recent barrier attire regulations in the OR

Editor's Note

Though recent guidelines mandating additional barrier attire for all scrubbed and unscrubbed OR personnel from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Joint Commission, which include bouffant caps covering all hair and long-sleeved surgical attire covering all exposed skin, this study finds that this mandate does not significantly affect surgical site infections (SSIs), hospital readmissions, or reoperations.

A total of 1,122 patients (515 preimplementation of guidelines, 607 postimplementation), including 60.9% laparoscopic and 16.4% bowel resection procedures, were analyzed. Of those, 57 patients developed SSIs.

Laparoscopy, bowel resection, and OR time of 3 hours or more were associated with SSIs, but barrier attire was not. Barrier attire also had on significant effect on hospital readmissions or reoperations.

The findings call into question the rationale for the more stringent OR attire guidelines, which burden hospitals with additional cost, time, and resources, the researchers say.


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