The roles of stethoscopes and sphygmomanometers in hospital-acquired infections: a case study of some district hospitals in Enugu state, Southeast Nigeria


  • Emmanuel I. Umegbolu Department of General Outpatient, District Hospital Awgu, Enugu State, Nigeria



Acquired, Hospital, Infection, Stethoscope, Sphygmomanometer, Role


Background: Hospital acquired infections (HAIs) are infections that patients acquire while receiving treatments for other conditions. Studies have shown that stethoscopes and sphygmomanometers can act as potential sources of these infections in patients accessing treatment in healthcare facilities. This study aimed to increase awareness among health workers in Nigeria of the potentials of stethoscopes and sphygmomanometers to transmit HAIs.

Methods: Moist swab sticks were used to collect samples from 38 randomly selected stethoscopes and sphygmomanometers from some departments of four district hospitals. Collected samples were cultured using standard microbiological techniques. In addition, self-designed questionnaire was used to assess the knowledge and practice of doctors and nurses on the roles of stethoscopes and sphygmomanometers in HAIs.

Results: About 83.8% of the health workers demonstrated some awareness of the roles of stethoscopes and sphygmomanometers in HAIs. 42.5% cleaned their stethoscopes, while 5% their sphygmomanometers. Staphylococcus aureus, (65.9% of stethoscopes), proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (67.6% of sphygmomanometers), Streptococcus and Coliform species were isolated. There was no significant difference between the contamination of stethoscopes and sphygmomanometers by the isolates, except for Pseudomonas aeruginosa (t=3.49, p=0.04).

Conclusions: Awareness did not match practice in cleaning the stethoscopes and sphygmomanometers in the four facilities. Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were the two most common organisms isolated with a significant difference (t=3.49, p=0.04) between stethoscopes and sphygmomanometers in isolation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. To curb HAIs, health workers need to improve on their practice of cleaning stethoscopes and sphygmomanometers.


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How to Cite

Umegbolu, E. I. (2019). The roles of stethoscopes and sphygmomanometers in hospital-acquired infections: a case study of some district hospitals in Enugu state, Southeast Nigeria. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 7(5), 1686–1691.



Original Research Articles