Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Original Investigation

Mobile phones of anesthesiologists as reservoirs of nosocomial bacteria in a quaternary teaching hospital: an observational study

Guilherme Haelvoet Correa, Carla de Souza Formigoni, Suzethe Matiko Sasagawa, Mariana Volpe Arnoni, Lígia Andrade da Silva Telles Mathias, Marcelo Jennè Mimica

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Mobile phones in hospital settings have been identified as an important source of cross-contamination because of the low frequency with which mobile phones are cleaned by health workers and cyclical contamination of the hands and face. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the mobile phones of the anesthesia team at a teaching hospital are potential reservoirs of nosocomial bacteria. In addition, differences in device sanitization and hand hygiene habits between attending and resident anesthesiologists were correlated with mobile phone colonization.

A prevalence study was conducted over a 6-month period from 2017 to 2018 that involved the collection of samples from the mobile phones of the anesthesiology team and culturing for surveillance. A questionnaire was administered to assess the mobile phone sanitization and hand washing routines of the anesthesia team in specific situations.

Bacterial contamination was detected for 86 of the 128 mobile phones examined (67.2%). A greater presence of Micrococcus spp. on devices was correlated with a higher frequency of mobile phone use (p = 0.003) and a lower frequency of sanitization (p = 0.003). The presence of bacteria was increased on the mobile phones of professionals who did not perform handwashing after tracheal intubation (p = 0.003).

Hand hygiene and device sanitization habits were more important than the use behavior, as a higher presence of bacteria correlated with poorer hygiene habits. Furthermore, handwashing is the best approach to prevent serious colonization of mobile devices and the possible transmission of pathogens to patients under the care of anesthesiologists.


Bacterial colonization;  Infection prevention;  Patient care;  Quality measures


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