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Needle prick to surgeons

Dec 22, 2000

We are two consultants Neurosurgeon. On 12/12/00 we operated a patient with brain tumor. Both of us were pricked by needles during surgery. The next day the patient was reported HIV positive. We started PEP (Combivir +Indinavir) after around 24h of the injuries. The pricks were superficial and occurred during dura and wound closure with very fine 3x0 surgical needles. Very small amount of crusted blood, which could have been from the surgeon himself or coming from a small hole in the gloves, was noticed on one finger. The suspected area was treated with Iodine and spirit, hands were washed and disinfected after the surgery. Please inform us what is the chance of infection in our case. Thanks in advance

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The likelihood of infection is very low, but not zero. The risk of infection is dependent on the infectivity of the patient (whether they have detectable virus in their blood or not and how high the titer is) and the mechanism of inoculation. Hollow bore needles pose the greatest risk, surgical needles less, and mucosal or skin exposure the least. The regimens prescribed are appropriate and should be taken for the recommended 28 days.


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