Safety needles really are safer

Trying to decrease the incidence of needlesticks? A new study shows use of both safety needles and blunt suture needles significantly decreases the incidences of such injuries to health care workers. In a study conducted between 1993 and 1995, CDC investigators found that 61% of needlestick injuries were associated with the use of needles that lacked safety devices, whereas only 15% of the reported injuries occurred while properly using a needle with a safety lock feature. Phlebotomy is associated with 39% of occupationally acquired HIV cases in the United States.

Suturing is another procedure fraught with puncture injuries. But in another study, CDC researchers found that of the 1,500 suture-related injuries reported in New York between 1993 and 1994, conventional curved needles were used 73% of the time while blunt suture needles were used only 4% of the time. (MMWR 1997; 48:21-28.)