Evaluation of risk factors for retained surgical sponges: A survey of veterinary practitioners

Fernando Reina, Barbara Kirby, John Ryan

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Incidence and risk factors for retained surgical sponges (RSS) in veterinary patients is unknown.
Material and Methods:
Attendants to a national veterinary conference were asked to complete and return a paper survey. The same survey was completed online by invitation of 5 general practitioners and 6 university teaching hospital surgeons. The survey included questions on type of surgeries performed, staff involved, surgical sponges (SS) used, methods to track SS and details of clinical cases of RSS seen.
Response rate was 21.8% (73/335). There was no specific time in the day scheduled for surgery for 35.7% of respondents. There were 2 people in theatre for the majority (68.5%) of respondents. The vast majority (89%) sterilized their SS. Radiopaque SS were used in only 12.3%. The majority of respondents (52%) did not routinely count (28.7%) or never counted (23.3%) SS. The majority of respondents did not record sponge counts (75.3%). A minority (20.6%) were unaware of gossypiboma while 26% had seen a case of RSS. Eighteen cases were reported, 15 in small animals. The abdomen was the most common anatomical location for RSS following elective neutering.
Despite the low response rate, our results suggest that surveillance methods need improvement to avoid gossypibomas. Lack of specifically scheduled surgery time, few theatre staff and lack of sponge counting and documentation may have contributed to the 18 RSS cases reported.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventECVS Annual Meeting - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 7 Jul 20169 Jul 2016


ConferenceECVS Annual Meeting

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