Nov 15, 2007
I'm a surgeon resident and i have an accident with a suture needle 3/0 in my finger with 2 gloves. The needle hit my finger. It started bleeding! Is it true that there are no reported cases similar with HIV infection with suture needle stick? I started PEP anyway! What do you think? Thank you.
Response from Dr. Frascino
I'm not aware of any cases of occupationally acquired HIV resulting from a suture needle. The small, solid needle and double gloving will certainly significantly reduce any even theoretical risk.
What do I think? Well, as with all potential occupational exposures, I think you should fill out an incident report and follow the policy and procedures in place at your teaching hospital related to possible occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Hopefully this would include evaluation by an HIV specialist physician who could more thoroughly document your level of risk (particularly since the source patient is known), assess the need for PEP or optimize your PEP regimen if needed, evaluate and manage all PEP-related side effects and toxicities and arrange for and interpret all post-PEP follow-up tests if PEP is recommended and taken.
As a surgical resident you should familiarize yourself with the published guidelines for occupational exposures. You can download a copy at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5409a1.htm
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