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Question 2 Does regular cleaning of stethoscopes result in a reduction in nosocomial infections?
  1. S Bandi1,
  2. A Conway2
  1. 1Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital, Coventry, UK
  2. 2Clinical Sciences Library, University Hospital, Coventry, UK
  1. Correspondence to S Bandi, Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital, Clifford Bridge Road, Coventry CV2 2DX, UK; seenu_dr{at}

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The hospital infection control policy suggests that the stethoscope diaphragm should be cleaned before and after each patient contact. You wonder whether regular cleaning of stethoscopes results in a reduction in hospital acquired infections.

Structured clinical question

In hospital patients [population], does regular cleaning of stethoscopes [intervention] reduce the incidence of nosocomial infection [outcome]?

Search strategy and outcome

The following resources were searched: Cochrane Library, Trip Database, Medline, PubMed, NHS Evidence and NICE. PubMed search words used were “stethoscope” AND “nosocomial”, “hospital acquired”, “HAI” AND “infection”, “pathogen”. No limits were placed on the search. Fourteen of the papers found were relevant and after further review, four were chosen (table 2).

View this table:
Table 2

Does regular cleaning of stethoscopes result in a reduction in nosocomial infections?


Hospital acquired infections are increasing worldwide. In the UK and Ireland (excluding Scotland), the prevalence of healthcare associated infection (HAI) was 7.6% in 2006.1 The Centers for Disease …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned, externally peer reviewed.