To the Editor:—

Although I accept that the cleansing and sterilization of laryngoscope blades is a nuisance to nurses and other paramedical personnel, I do not think that the use of a condom to cover the laryngoscope blade is an answer to this problem. First, the condom cannot be assumed to be a barrier against the transmission of infection between cases. Damage to its integrity unnoticable by the naked eye can easily occur, particularly during contact with teeth or dental work in a difficult intubation. It is not an effective barrier and puts patients at risk of cross-contamination. Condoms are renowned for splitting when used for their intended purpose, and this is far more likely when used as described. Second, I also feel strongly that condom packets scattered around anesthetic rooms or empty packets in disposal bins will lead to anxiety among patients. Difficulty would also be encountered if patients inquire why an odd taste persists after anesthesia. I would certainly not like to be responsible for telling them not to worry—that is only the taste of the spermicidal jelly.

So EC: Use of a condom as a blade cover for a laryngoscope (letter). Anesthesiology 2000; 3: 906