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Reducing the risks of tourniquets left on after finger and toe surgery

Reference number
1153
Central Alert System (CAS) reference
NPSA/2009/RRR007
Issue date09 December 2009
Action date (if applicable) (date field)09 June 2010
DH Gateway reference
12662
TypeAlert

Digital tourniquets are commonly used to provide a bloodless field in hand and toe surgery. These may be used in operating theatres, emergency departments, GP surgeries and podiatry clinics. If digital tourniquets are accidentally left on, they may cause substantial harm to patients.


All organisations where hand and foot surgery are carried out should ensure that:

  • Guidelines include the removal of digital tourniquets as part of the swab counting procedure and specify the need to record the length of time a tourniquet is in place.

 

  • CE marked digital tourniquets which are labelled and/or brightly coloured should be used, in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions. Surgical gloves should not be used as tourniquets.

 

  • The WHO Surgical Safety Checklist is reviewed locally to consider adding tourniquet removal at ‘Sign Out’ stage.

 

  • The NPSA clinical briefing sheet is used to raise awareness of risks using digital tourniquets and safer practice recommendations.
Reducing risks of tourniquets left on after finger and toe surgery | Rapid Response Report
Reducing risks of tourniquets left on after finger and toe surgery | Rapid Response Report - 74 KB 1153 | Reducing risks of tourniquets left on after finger and toe surgery | Rapid Response Report | 2009.12.09
Reducing risks of tourniquets left on after finger and toe surgery | Clinical briefing | Rapid Respo
Reducing risks of tourniquets left on after finger and toe surgery | Clinical briefing | Rapid Respo - 589 KB 1153 B | Reducing risks of tourniquets left on after finger and toe surgery | Clinical briefing | Rapid Response Report | 2009.12.09
Reducing risks of tourniquets left on after finger and toe surgery | Supporting information | Rapid
Reducing risks of tourniquets left on after finger and toe surgery | Supporting information | Rapid - 122 KB 1153 | Reducing risks of tourniquets left on after finger and toe surgery | Supporting information | Rapid Response Report | 2009.12.09