Indexed on: 12 Jun '12Published on: 12 Jun '12Published in: Journal of Hospital Infection
Over the past few years, plasma medicine has become an important field in medical science. Cold plasma has proven anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antineoplastic effects.To test the decontamination power of two cold plasma sources [low-temperature atmospheric pressure plasma jet (APPJ) and dielectric barrier discharge plasma (DBD)] in vivo on human fingertips.After 3, 15, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 210 and 240 s of spot treatment with the APPJ and DBD, the log reduction factors (RFs) of physiological (PF) and artificially (AF) contaminated flora (Staphylococcus epidermidis and Micrococcus luteus) were calculated. The bacterial load was determined after counting. Tolerance (paresthesia, pain and heat) was measured using a numerical rating scale.Both plasma devices led to a significant reduction in PF and AF. The maximum log reduction factors for PF were 1.3 for the DBD at 210 s and 0.8 for the APPJ at 60 s. For AF, the maximum log reduction factors were 1.7 for the DBD at 90 s and 1.4 for the APPJ at 120 s. Treatment with both devices was well tolerated.Both the APPJ and DBD were highly effective in eradicating PF and AF from the fingertips of healthy volunteers. No plasma-resistant isolates were observed. Cold plasma appears to have potential for skin disinfection. For hand hygiene purposes, plasma exposure times would need to be reduced significantly by technical means.