Volume 7, No. 1 • Spring 1992

Latex Glove Hazard

Janet N. Siler, M.D.; Gregg Neumann, D.O.

To the Editor

Routine use of latex gloves by anesthesia personnel during the Administration of general endotracheal anesthesia is now recommended. Recently a piece of such a non-sterile glove was nearly aspirated during anesthesia.

Our patient was undergoing functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) With general anesthesia during which the connection between the endotracheal tube and the anesthesia breathing circuit was hidden by the overlying surgical drapes. At the end of the surgical procedure, it was noted that a torn-off piece of latex glove was caught between the endotracheal tube connector and the anesthesia breathing circuit. The operating room table had been turned at a 90-degree angle to the anesthesia machine and the person administering the anesthesia. Therefore, the piece of latex glove was located 180 degrees from the visual field of the person administering the anesthetic. Fortunately, the piece of glove was observed prior to its potential entrance into the endotracheal tube lumen and consequent aspiration by the patient.

The authors would like their colleagues to be aware of this potential hazard when using latex gloves, which are sometimes poorly fitted. This potential problem might be even more likely to occur should an endotracheal tube be disconnected during an operative procedure and be reconnected in a darkened area “by feel” under surgical drapes.

Janet N. Siler, M.D.

Associate Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology

Gregg Neumann, D.O.

Anesthesiology Resident Hahnemann University Philadelphia, PA