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Needlestick injuries in Saudi Arabia

 

Clinical bottom line

Most needlesticks occurred in women, in nurses, and in less experienced staff.


References

HA Abu-Gad & KA Al-Turki. Some epidemiological aspects of needle stick injuries among the hospital health care workers: Eastern province, Saudi Arabia. European Journal of Epidemiology 2001 17: 401-407.

KA Al-Turki & HA Abu-Gad. Frequency of and prevention measures for needle-stick injuries among hospital healthcare workers in Saudi Arabia. Journal for Healthcare Quality 2000 22, 6: 23-28.

Study

This was retrospective record analysis carried out over the three years of 1995-1997. In 11 of 38 hospitals of the Eastern Province with a reporting system there were 282 injuries and information was requested by questionnaire from authorised personnel. A needlestick injury was defined as a penetrating wound with an instrument that is potentially contaminated with blood or body fluid of another person.

Results

Of the 282 cases, 73% were women, predominantly of non-Saudi origin. There was a significant relationship between the years of experience in the job and the proportion of injuries, so that half occurred in people with less than three years experience (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Experience in the job and needlestick injuries




Actions being undertaken at the time of injury are shown in Table 1. Most related to actions with syringes. Most injuries (67%) occurred in nurses, with 14% in doctors, 12% in other workers and 6% in technicians.

Table 1: Actions undertaken at time of injury

Action
Percent
Work with syringe
47
Needle disposal
14
Needle re-sheathing
4
Cleaning
16
Suturing
14
Accidental by others
9

Comment

This study confirms the high rate of needlestick injuries among nurses, and additionally implies greater risk for less experienced staff.