388. Lead aprons worn by Interventional Radiologists contain pathogenic organisms including Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Tinea species.
Session: Poster Abstract Session: MRSA, MSSA, Enterococci
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Room: The Moscone Center: Poster Hall C

Studies have shown that white coats and ties are a reservoir for colonies of pathogens to grow and spread nosocomial infections; however, there has been limited research on whether lead aprons worn by hospital personnel can be a source of nosocomial infection or a source of infection to themselves.


The study was conducted in a university hospital interventional radiology department. Staphloccocus aureus (Staph. a.), Tinea species (Tinea sp.), Vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE), and Escherichia coli (E. coli) were tested. Twenty-five lead aprons worn by radiology technologists, nurses, physicians, and physician assistants were tested. Two locations with potential patient contact were sampled: outer thyroid and chest shield and two locations with self body contact: inner thyroid and chest shield. An expert microbiologist and a medical technologist were consulted for microbe interpretation.


Colonies of Staph. a.were found on the lead aprons and thyroid shields of 21 subjects (84%); three of the isolates were resistant to methicillin(MRSA). Tinea species were also found on 21 lead aprons(84%).

E. coliand VREwere not detected on any protective lead aprons.

There was no statistically significant association with the time spent wearing protective lead between the different specialties and the presence of Staph. a. (Chi-Square=5.19, df=5, p-value=.393). However, there was a statistically significant association between medical staff’s time spent wearing protective lead and the and presence of Tinea sp.(Chi-Square=14.435, df=5, p-value=.0131).

For Staph. a. and Tinea sp.there were no statistically significant differences between locations sampled on the thyroid and lead apron.


The results of this study showed that there were significant amounts of both Staph. a. and Tinea sp. residing in lead aprons currently worn by interventional radiology medical staff. We propose that cleaning the lead apron once a day with an inexpensive disinfectant could drastically reduce the amount of pathogens present. Furthermore, wearing an additional  protective garment underneath the lead aprons could minimize both patient and physician exposure to the pathogens. This will be demonstrated in a future study.

Mohammed Jaber, MD, Radiology, Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center-Harper University Hospital, Detroit, MI, Edward Qiao, DO, Internal Medicine, Saint Joseph Mercy-Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, MI, Camelia Arsene, MD/PhD, Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center-Sinai Grace, Detroit, MI and Monte Harvill, MD, Interventional Radiology, Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center-Harper University Hospital, Detroit, MI


M. Jaber, None

E. Qiao, None

C. Arsene, None

M. Harvill, None

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