General hygienic aspects in spirometry
- It should be emphasized that to date there is no publication
documenting cross-contamination of a patient via a spirometer.
HIV can also not be transferred by saliva. Spirometry is
therefore reasonably safe. Even so anyone in charge of spirometric
tests should make every effort to prevent cross-contamination.
- Some electronic spirometers are used solely for forced
expiratory maneuvers, the patient never breathing in through
the equipment. This minimizes any risks of bacterial infections.
However, even then it is mandatory that equipment is regularly
cleaned and disinfected.
- Bacteria thrive in a moist environment. Therefore when
putting a transducer away see to it that water can run off,
and that the transducer dries up quickly.
- Each patient should have a fresh mouthpiece. Disposable
mouthpieces are the most convenient and safest. If you do
not use disposables, clean the mouthpieces after use, disinfect
them in alcohol 95%, rinse them with water, and leave them
to dry in a dry and clean place.
- Some patients are known to harbor virulent bacteria in
their airways: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, or Pseudomonas sepacia. The equipment should be disinfected each time after use
by such patients. The same holds for patients with tuberculosis
in whom bacteria are demonstrable in their sputum.
- Immune-compromised patients, such as HIV-positives and
patients treated with cytostatic drugs, should perform spirometry
on instruments which have been disinfected immediately before
the assessments. Patients with cystic fibrosis are similarly
entitled to using a spirometer disinfected shortly before
they are tested.