Study of the adhesiveness of medical tapes when wet, dry or following application of Friars' balsam

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Abstract

Background

Adhesive tapes are routinely used during anesthesia for vital roles such as securing tracheal tubes or intravascular access devices. There are currently very few experimental data available to guide the choice of tape for a particular indication.

Methods

The performance of four medical adhesive tapes (Sleek™, Elastoplast™, Mefix™ and Leukoplast™ zinc oxide) was evaluated under three different conditions (wet, dry and following prior application of Friars' balsam). A strain gauge was used to determine the force required to detach each tape from the skin of the inner forearm. The test was repeated 20 times under each standardized condition. Statistical analysis was performed using two way ANOVA and the Scheffe posthoc test.

Results

Leukoplast was the most adhesive tape overall (P< 0.001); Sleek was more adhesive than Mefix and Elastoplast (P< 0.001); and Mefix was more adhesive than Elastoplast (P= 0.018). Under wet conditions, Elastoplast and Mefix were less adhesive than when dry (P< 0.001), whereas the adhesiveness of Sleek and zinc oxide was unchanged. Friars' balsam significantly increased the adhesiveness of Elastoplast and Sleek (P= 0.02 for both).

Conclusions

There is a dramatic variation in performance between different adhesive tapes and between different conditions, which has implications for the choice of tape for a particular clinical application.

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