Objective: To evaluate surgeons' concern regarding risk awareness and behavioral methods of protection against bloodborne pathogen transmission during surgery. Methods: A 29-item questionnaire was sent to 914 surgeons from two universities and two surgical societies. Results: The questionnaire was returned by 768 active surgeons. Slight or moderate concern about contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was reported by most surgeons; 8% reported extreme concern and 4% reported no concern. In total, 605 surgeons reported having been vaccinated against hepatitis B; surgeons in practice <7 years were most likely to be vaccinated. Most surgeons did not routinely use double gloves: 92 of 768 surgeons reported that they always use double gloves when performing surgery, and 83 reported that they usually use double gloves. There was a statistically significantly higher proportion of surgeons who always or usually use double gloves who also had hepatitis B vaccinations. Most surgeons incorrectly estimated the seroconversion rates with exposure to a patient with HIV (66% incorrect), hepatitis B (88% incorrect), or hepatitis C (84% incorrect). Most surgeons never or rarely report needle-stick injuries, and only 17% always report needle-stick injuries. Conclusions: Most surgeons underestimate the risk of bloodborne pathogens and do not routinely use double gloves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-272
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1998


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