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Adverse incidents resulting in exposure to body fluids at a UK dental teaching hospital over a 6-year period

Authors Hughes, Davies, Hale, Gallagher J

Received 12 February 2012

Accepted for publication 28 March 2012

Published 25 October 2012 Volume 2012:5 Pages 155—161


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

A Hughes,1 L Davies,1 R Hale,1 JE Gallagher2

1Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, 2King's College London Dental Institute, London, United Kingdom

Background: The safety and protection of patients and health care workers is of paramount importance in dentistry, and this includes students in training who provide clinical care. Given the nature of dental care, adverse incidents can and do occur, exposing health care workers to body fluids and putting them at risk of infection, including contracting a blood-borne virus. The aim of this research was to analyze trends in the volume, rate, nature, management, and outcome of adverse incidents reported at one dental teaching hospital from 2005 to 2010.
Methods: Descriptive analysis of trends in the volume, rate, nature, management, and outcome of adverse incidents reported at one dental teaching hospital over a six-year period was undertaken in relation to the level of outpatient and day surgery activity.
Results: In total, 287 incidents were reported over a six-year period, which amounted to 0.039% of outpatient or day surgery appointments. Nearly three quarters of all the incidents (n = 208, 72%) took place during treatment or whilst clearing away after the appointment. The most frequent incidents were associated with administration of local anesthetic (n = 63, 22%), followed by burs used in dental hand pieces (n = 51, 18%).
Conclusion: This research confirms that adverse incidents are a feature of dental hospitals and reports the common sources. The importance of accurate and consistent reporting of data to ensure that these issues are monitored to inform action and reduce risks to staff, students, and patients are highlighted.

Keywords: risk management, blood-borne virus, dental hospital, body fluids exposure, adverse event reporting

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