Health care–associated infections (HAIs) cost billions of dollars annually in the United States and cause patient morbidity and mortality. There is increasing evidence that environmental surfaces in the OR setting, including anesthesia work areas, can harbor pathogens that can lead to HAIs. Patient-care equipment used routinely in the OR, such as electrocardiograph wires, blood pressure cuffs, pulse oximetry probes, and monitor cables, can become contaminated with pathogens during surgical procedures; without proper cleaning and disinfection between procedures, these items pose a risk for pathogen transmission and subsequent patient infections. This article discusses the association between contaminated surfaces in the OR and the risk for HAIs. It is essential that perioperative nurses, environmental services personnel, anesthesia technicians, and anesthesia professionals properly disinfect environmental surfaces to prevent HAIs.
Key words: environmental cleaning, pathogen transmission, high-touch areas, surface contamination, health care– associated infection (HAI).