Article metrics

  • citations in SCindeks: 0
  • citations in CrossRef:0
  • citations in Google Scholar:[=>]
  • visits in previous 30 days:5
  • full-text downloads in 30 days:4
article: 6 from 6  
Back back to result list
Medicinski podmladak
2015, vol. 66, iss. 2, pp. 55-60
article language: English
document type: Original Scientific Paper
published on: 27/10/2016
doi: 10.5937/medpodm1502055B
Bacterial contamination of stethoscopes in university hospitals: Multicenter study
aUniversity of Belgrade, Faculty of Medicine
bFaculty of Medicine, Benha University, Egypt
cHospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, Spain
dUniversity of Belgrade, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Microbiology and Immunology



Introduction: Stethoscope membranes provide a suitable environment for bacterial survival and they get contaminated during examination of patients. If they are not disinfected, they can become a source of nosocomial infections. Aim: Determine the level of contamination of stethoscope membranes, identify the present microorganisms, test their antimicrobial susceptibility and determine whether there is a difference in contamining based on the frequency of disinfection in university clinics in Belgrade, Benha and Barcelona. Material and methods: Swabs were taken from stethoscope membranes of 147 physicians who are employed in one of three university hospitals in Belgrade, Benha and Barcelona. The material was cultivated and incubated in dextrose broth and on blood agar plates. Identification was performed by cultural, microscopic and biochemical characteristics and the use of MALDI-TOF. Disc diffusion method was used for antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Results: Only 12 doctors disinfect their stethoscopes regularly. Out of 147 samples, 122 were contaminated, and 25 sterile (1 from Belgrade, 24 from Benha). There was no statistically significant difference in degree of contamination and cleaning habits (p > 0.05). Stethoscopes in Benha were significantly less contaminated (p < 0.05). Isolated bacteria belong to genera Staphylococcus (125 strains), Streptococcus (7 strains), Bacillus (5 strains), Corynebacterium (13 strains), Acinetobacter (2 strains), Proteus (2 strains), Enterococcus (1 strain) and Pseudomonas (1 strain). Methicillin resistance of staphylococci was 37.1% in Belgrade and 95.2% in Benha. Four strains of Staphylococcus aureus were isolated and three were methicillin-resistant. Conclusion: Disinfection of stethoscope membranes should be performed after examining each patient and it is necessary to conduct further education of physicians on this matter.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008) Guideline for disinfection and sterilization in healthcare facilities. Atlanta (USA): CDC,
Croxatto, A., Prod'hom, G., Greub, G. (2012) Applications of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry in clinical diagnostic microbiology. FEMS Microbiology Reviews, 36(2): 380-407
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (2014) Annual epidemiological report Antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections. Stockholm, Available online from:
European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (2015) Breakpoint tables for interpretation of MICs and zone diameters. Version 5.0,
Kim, S.S., Yu, S., Kim, J., Ryu, S.J. (2013) Comparison of disinfective power according to application order of 70% isopropyl alcohol and 10% povidone-iodine. Korean Journal of Anesthesiology, 65(6): 519
Leontsini, F., Papapetropoulos, A., Vantarakis, A. (2013) Stethoscopes as vectors of multi-resistant coagulase negative staphylococci in a tertiary hospital. International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health, 2(2): 324
Longtin, Y., Schneider, A., Tschopp, C., Renzi, G., Gayet-Ageron, A., Schrenzel, J., Pittet, D. (2014) Contamination of Stethoscopes and Physicians' Hands After a Physical Examination. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 89(3): 291-299
Magiorakos, A.-P., Srinivasan, A., Carey, R.B., Carmeli, Y., Falagas, M.E., Giske, C.G., Harbarth, S., Hindler, J.F., Kahlmeter, G., Olsson-Liljequist, B., Paterson, D.L., Rice, L.B., Stelling, J., Struelens, M.J., Vatopoulos, A., Weber, J.T., Monnet, D. (2012) Multidrug-resistant, extensively drug-resistant and pandrug-resistant bacteria: an international expert proposal for interim standard definitions for acquired resistance. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 18(3): 268-281
Mahon, C.R., Lehman, D.C., Manuselis, G. (2012) Textbook of diagnostic microbiology. Maryland Heights, MO: Saunders
Maluf, M.E.Z., Maldonado, A.F., Bercial, M.E., Pedroso, S.A. (2002) Stethoscope: a friend or an enemy?. Sao Paulo Medical Journal, 120(1): 13-15
Neely, A.N., Maley, M.P. (2000) Survival of enterococci and staphylococci on hospital fabrics and plastic. J Clin. Microbiol, 38: 724-726
Parmar, R.C., Valvi, C.C., Sira, P., Kamat, J.R. (2004) A prospective, randomised, double-blind study of comparative efficacy of immediate versus daily cleaning of stethoscope using 66% ethyl alcohol. Indian J Med Sci., 58: 423-430
Shiferaw, T., Beyene, G., Kassa, T., Sewunet, T. (2013) Bacterial contamination, bacterial profile and antimicrobial susceptibility pattern of isolates from stethoscopes at Jimma University Specialized Hospital. Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials, 12(1): 39
Shobha, K., Rao, P., Thomas, J. (2005) Survey of Staphylococcus isolates among hospital personnel, environment and their antibiogram with special emphasis on methicillin resistance. Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology, 23(3): 186
Wilkins, R.L., Restrepo, R.D., Bourne, K.C., Daher, N. (2007) Contamination Level of Stethoscopes Used By Physicians and Physician Assistants. Journal of Physician Assistant Education, 18(2): 41-43
Youngster, I., Berkovitch, M., Heyman, E., Lazarovitch, Z., Goldman, M. (2008) The stethoscope as a vector of infectious diseases in the paediatric division. Acta Paediatrica, 97(9): 1253-1255