The National Phlebotomy
Association (NPA) is committed to educating the nation's
phlebotomists, promoting healthcare worker and patient safety, and
improving overall quality of care in the United States.
In recent years, NPA and other leaders in the healthcare community
have become increasingly concerned about the transmission of
bacteria, viruses, and spores in hospitals, clinics, physician
offices, and laboratories. Every day, in healthcare settings,
healthcare workers and patients are unnecessarily exposed to
potentially deadly pathogens spread through blood and other vectors
(e.g., air, droplets, contaminated surfaces/devices).
Exposure to HIV, hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus,
staphylococcus aureus (a.k.a. "staph"), and other drug resistant
microbes are likely in healthcare settings.
The phlebotomist is at the front
line of patient care and is often at the greatest risk of exposure
and infection. NPA, along with various infection prevention
and control organizations, regulatory agencies, policy makers, and
medical device manufacturers, have taken the lead in developing
practices, guidelines, and protocols designed to prevent
needlestick injuries and other healthcare associated exposures to
bloodborne pathogens and microbes.
In that role, NPA recently
completed a study on reusable blood tube holders. The study
revealed that 99% of holders sampled, were contaminated with
blood. This poses an occupational exposure risk to the
healthcare worker and an infection control exposure risk to the
Several national healthcare and
regulatory agencies and organizations have also recognized this
risk. OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB
10-15-03) prohibit the reuse of tube holders to protect healthcare
workers from contaminated back-end needles. In May 2003, the
Society for Epidemiology of America (SHEA) recommended single use
of portable equipment and medical devices in order to prevent the
spread of microbes and emerging resistance.
In keeping with its findings and
the recommendations of peer organizations, NPA highly advises all
phlebotomists and healthcare workers not to reuse blood tube
holders. In an effort to afford a superior level of
healthcare worker safety and patient safety for blood collection,
safety needles that are pre-attached may offer the highest level of
infection prevention and control. The use of a reused holder
can cause infection to healthcare workers and patients and
potentially yield incorrect results.
COLLECTION ALERT -
DON'T REUSE HOLDERS!