Needlestick injuries (NSIs) from a contaminated needle put healthcare workers (HCWs) at risk of becoming infected with a blood-borne virus and suffering serious short- and long-term medical consequences. Hypodermic injections using disposable syringes and needles are the most frequent cause of NSIs.
To perform a systematic literature review on NSI and active safety-engineered devices for hypodermic injection.
MEDLINE, EMBASE, and COCHRANE databases were searched for studies that evaluated the clinical, economic, or humanistic outcomes of NSI or active safety-engineered devices.
NSIs have been reported by 14.9%–69.4% of HCWs with the wide range due to differences in countries, settings, and methodologies used to determine rates. Exposure to contaminated sharps is responsible for 37%–39% of the worldwide cases of hepatitis B and C infections in HCWs. HCWs may experience serious emotional effects and mental health disorders after a NSI, resulting in work loss and post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2015 International US$ (IntUS$), the average cost of a NSI was IntUS$747 (range IntUS$199–1,691). Hypodermic injections, the most frequent cause of NSI, are responsible for 32%–36% of NSIs. The use of safety devices that cover the needle-tip after hypodermic injection lowers the risk of NSI per HCW by 43.4%–100% compared to conventional devices. The economic value of converting to safety injective devices shows net savings, favorable budget impact, and overall cost-effectiveness.
The clinical, economic, and humanistic burden is substantial for HCWs who experience a NSI. Safety-engineered devices for hypodermic injection demonstrate value by reducing NSI risk, and the associated direct and indirect costs, psychological stress on HCWs, and occupational blood-borne viral infection risk.