Major article| Volume 40, ISSUE 10, P922-925, December 2012

Predictors of stethoscope disinfection among pediatric health care providers

Published:April 05, 2012DOI:


      Stethoscopes are contaminated with bacteria, but predictors of stethoscope disinfection frequency are unknown. We sought to describe health care provider stethoscope disinfection attitudes and practices and determine predictors of frequent disinfection.


      We used an anonymous online survey of nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians at a pediatric hospital. We assessed frequency and methods of disinfection, perceptions of contamination, and barriers to disinfection. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify independent predictors of disinfecting after every use.


      One thousand four hundred one respondents completed the survey: 76% believed that infection transmission occurs via stethoscopes, but only 24% reported disinfecting after every use. In multivariate analyses, belief that infection transmission occurs via stethoscopes significantly increased the odds of disinfection after every use (odds ratio [OR], 2.06 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.38-3.06]). The odds of disinfection after every use were significantly decreased in those who perceived the following barriers: lack of time (OR, 0.31 [95% CI: 0.18-0.54]), lack of access to disinfection material (OR, 0.41 [95% CI: 0.29-0.57]), or lack of visual reminders to disinfect (OR, 0.22 [95% CI: 0.14-0.34]).


      Only a minority of pediatric health care providers reported disinfecting their stethoscopes after every use. Increasing access to disinfection materials and visual reminders in health care facilities may improve stethoscope disinfection practices.

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