Needle-stick injuries and blood contacts during invasive radiologic procedures: Frequency and risk factors

M. E. Hansen, G. L. Miller, H. C. Redman, D. D. McIntire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. Possible nosocomial transmission of blood-borne pathogens is a serious concern for health care workers and patients alike. Needle-stick injuries and blood contacts pose a risk of pathogen transmission during procedures. We performed a study to determine the frequency of injuries and blood contacts during invasive radiologic procedures and to examine procedure-related factors that may increase risk of injury or exposure. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. A prospective study of needle-stick injuries and blood contacts during invasive radiologic procedures was performed. During a 10- week period, information about procedures was recorded by technologists or physicians, and needle-stick injuries and exposures to patients' blood and body fluids were noted. Data were analyzed with the SAS statistical package. RESULTS. Accidental exposure to patients' blood and body fluids occurred in 15 of 501 cases (3.0%; 95% confidence interval, 1.7-4.9%). Of 729 operators at risk, 15 were exposed (2.0%; 95% confidence interval 1.1-3.3%). Exposure was parenteral in one case and cutaneous in 14. Risk of exposure was correlated with procedure duration (p = .003), but not with emergency vs elective procedure status (p = .796), procedure type (p = .275), or operator experience level (p = .554). Three needle-stick injuries (0.6% of cases) occurred, all with sterile instruments; bleeding occurred in two cases. Risk of injury was correlated only with procedure type (p = .046). In no case was a patient exposed to a physician's blood. CONCLUSION. Whereas cutaneous exposure of physicians to patients' blood was not infrequent, parenteral exposure was rare in this series. Most of the exposures in this study could have been prevented by the use of protective equipment. Patients' contact with physicians' blood did not occur in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1119-1122
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology

Cite this