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Article |

Frequency of Puncture Injuries in Surgeons and Estimated Risk of HIV Infection

Albert B. Lowenfels, MD; Gary P. Wormser, MD; Rajesh Jain
Arch Surg. 1989;124(11):1284-1286. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1989.01410110038007.
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• To evaluate the occupational risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, we surveyed 202 surgeons working in the New York City metropolitan area. One hundred seventythree (86%) surgeons reported at least one puncture injury in the preceding year (median number, 2 per year; interquartile range, 1 to 4 per year). Seventy-six percent of the injuries occurred during surgery, and the median injury rate was 4.2 per 1000 operating room hours. Twenty-five percent of the surgeons sustained yearly injury rates of 9 or more per 1000 operating room hours, and these high rates were independent of sex, age, type of practice, operative work load, or hospital location. Fifty-three percent of all injuries involved the index finger of the nondominant hand. If the prevalence of HIV infection in surgical patients is 5%, then the estimated 30-year risk of HIV seroconversion is less than 1% for 50% of the group, 1% to 2% for 25% of the group, 2% to 6% for 15% of the surgeons, and greater than 6% for 10% of the surgeons.

(Arch Surg. 1989;124:1284-1286)


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