Knowledge and Attitudes towards stethoscope hygiene and bacterial contamination

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Saifullah Shaikh
Khalid Ahmed
Rehana Rehman
Salwa Mansur Ali
Raza Iftikhar
Zohaib Rana


Aim: To compare the knowledge, attitudes and practices related to the stethoscope hygiene in the medical students, residents, and identify bacterial colonizers on the stethoscopes

 Methods: It was a cross sectional study conducted from year 2015 to 2016 included medical students, residents and attending’s physicians at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. knowledge, attitudes and practices about stethoscope hygiene were acquired by a questionnaire. Sterile swabs were collected from diaphragm and ear piece of each stethoscope and sent for bacterial identification. The cumulative responses on items of knowledge were categorized into positive; “have knowledge” and negative; no knowledge. Attitudes were characterized into positive with consideration of responses into ‘important’ merged with ‘minimally important’ and   negative attitudes were acquired by ‘not important’ responses Practices were considered by summing of individual responses. The final responses on the basis of gender, designation and location of sample collection, questions on knowledge, attitude and practices were compared with the presence of organisms in the studied samples by Chi-Square test and the results were considered significant with p values <0.05.

Results: The comparison of the relationship in between knowledge and practices related to the stethoscope hygiene showed that 73(65%) participants had knowledge but did not have time to practice stethoscope cleanliness regularly (p<0.01) which may have resulted in bacterial contamination(p=0.06)

Conclusion: Bacterial contamination was observed in stethoscopes of more than half of health care professionals especially in tertiary health care establishments. 

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