Infection Related to Ultrasound-Guided Single-Injection Peripheral Nerve Blockade: A Decade of Experience at Toronto Western Hospital

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Abstract

The use of ultrasound guidance has revolutionized regional anesthesia practice. Ultrasound equipment disinfection techniques vary between institutions. To date, there are no large data set publications or evidence-based guidelines that describe risk-reduction techniques for infectious complications related to the use of ultrasound guidance for peripheral nerve blockade. We retrospectively reviewed the medical charts of 7476 patients who received ultrasound-guided single-injection peripheral nerve blockade from October 2003 to August 2013 using our institution’s low-level disinfection technique in combination with a sterile transparent film barrier dressing to cover the ultrasound transducer. No indications of block-related infection were found. We conclude that using a practical and efficient low-level disinfection technique and sterile barrier dressing results in an extremely low rate of block-related infection following ultrasound-guided single-injection peripheral nerve blockade.

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