What are the universal precautions taken at high-risk autopsy?

Updated: May 20, 2019
  • Author: Jeffrey S Nine, MD; Chief Editor: Kim A Collins, MD, FCAP  more...
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The term "high risk," as applied to autopsy, is generally used to refer to those autopsies in which there is a high risk of transmission of disease to those doing the autopsy. Universal precautions should be used in the performance of all autopsies, [1] because any patient coming to autopsy may have an undiagnosed or known high-risk condition (eg, human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] infection, influenza, tuberculosis, hepatitis C). [1, 2, 3, 4] Universal precautions include, but are not limited to, wearing two pairs of rubber gloves (ie, "double gloving") for handling tissues or blood, as well as wearing eye protection, cap, gown (or "space suit"), mask, plastic apron, sleeve covers, and shoe covers; these items should be worn by anyone participating in the autopsy dissection. (See also Hazmat: Personal Protective Equipment.)

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