Each year, hospital-acquired infections cost hospitals approximately $5 billion in the United States, according to a report in the American Journal of Infection Control. Reducing infection spread helps hospitals avoid these costs and improve patient safety. To help reduce cross-contamination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the use of patient-dedicated products. While catheters, gloves, and the like are high on the hospital’s radar to help address this, blood pressure cuffs are often overlooked, despite research that shows that blood pressure cuffs used on multiple patients can transmit pathogens such as MRSA or C. diff. The single-patient-use cuff solutions that do exist are traditionally expensive, wasteful, and difficult to implement.

Figure 1 – A disposable blood pressure cuff can help control costs and disease spread.
However, there is a new innovative cuff design that provides hospitals with the benefit of switching to single-patient-use while also controlling costs and the volume of hospital waste. The new Welch Allyn FlexiPort® EcoCuff™ is intended to remain with one patient for the duration of his or her stay and then be disposed of, reducing the risk of cross-contamination. Unlike other disposable cuffs, it is made of 100 percent polypropylene, a material that is lightweight yet comfortable and durable. The cuff weighs 60 percent less than other disposable cuffs because it is manufactured using less material. Due to its light weight, the cuff also costs less to transport and dispose of, helping to lower overall costs and improve a hospital’s financial outcomes.

As shown in Figure 1, the cuff is used on the upper arm in conjunction with noninvasive blood pressure measurement systems. A soft, cloth-like texture provides patient comfort while still being strong enough to last for an entire patient stay, up to 100 on/off applications and hundreds of inflation/deflation cycles. There are no restrictions preventing clinicians from using the cuff during surgeries or other medical procedures.

Standardization also plays an important role. The cuff utilizes a single-point connection standardization system that allows it to follow the patient into nearly every room and connect to almost every device in the hospital, which helps to eliminate the number of cuff, tube, and connector configurations the facility needs.

Safer for the Environment and the Patient

The polypropylene cuff contains fewer chemicals that are harmful to the environment than the materials used to make traditional disposable blood pressure cuffs. It does not contain BPA, DEHP, latex, PVC, or other materials that can leach into the environment in a landfill or release harmful chemicals when incinerated. In addition, it is capable of being recycled in areas where polypropylene recycling is available. Although the practice is not yet widespread, a number of hospitals have implemented the practice of recycling medical-use polypropylene plastics. A lifecycle analysis by the Center for Sustainable Production at the Rochester Institute of Technology found that the EcoCuff polypropylene cuff has 60 percent less overall environmental impact than other disposable blood pressure cuffs.

To further improve on patient safety, the cuff features a unique range slotting system to help ensure proper sizing and accurate readings by prevent errors caused by inappropriate cuff application. It meets all the latest clinical standards and guidelines from the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation and the American Heart Association. Reducing costs and cross-contamination are two ways to meet critical hospital needs.

This article was written by Sean R. Karla, Global Category Manager, Core Blood Pressure Products, Welch Allyn, Skaneateles Falls, NY. For more information, Click Here .