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Hand-disinfectant alcoholic vapors in incubators

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Publication Date
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DOI: 10.3233/npm-2011-2727
Keywords
  • Infant
  • Newborn
  • Handwashing
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • 2-Propanol
  • Ethanol
  • Incubators

Abstract

Objective: To analyze the atmosphere inside incubators regarding alcoholic solvent such as isopropanol or ethanol which are commonly used in hand disinfecting solutions. Design: Observational. Setting: The third level neonatal unit of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland. Patients: Nine neonates with median (range) gestational age of 29 4/7 (25 5/7-39 0/7) weeks and birth weight of 960 (550-3050) grams. All neonates were inside incubators. Interventions: Alcoholic vapors inside incubators were directly and cumulatively measured by photoionisation and gas chromatography respectively after absorption on a charcoal sampling tube. Results: Eleven studies (mean study time: 230 ± 19 minutes) were performed. Highly variable isopropanol/ethanol concentrations profiles were found inside incubators. Peak value for isopropanol was 1982 part per million and for ethanol was 906 part per million. Conclusions: Incubators' inner atmosphere can be highly polluted by alcohol vapors. To reduce them staff should respect long evaporation time between hands disinfection and manipulations inside incubators. The use of an ethanol-based disinfecting solution, because of its short evaporation time, could be favored. As alcohol vapor toxicity for neonate remains largely unknown, further studies could be welcome.

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