Body substance isolation
Body substance isolation is a practice of isolating all body substances (blood, urine, feces, tears, etc.) of individuals undergoing medical treatment, particularly emergency medical treatment of those who might be infected with illnesses such as HIV, or hepatitis so as to reduce as much as possible the chances of transmitting these illnesses. BSI is similar in nature to universal precautions, but goes further in isolating workers from pathogens, including substances now known to carry HIV.
Place of body substance isolation practice in history
Practice of Universal precautions was introduced in 1985–88. In 1987, the practice of Universal precautions was adjusted by a set of rules known as body substance isolation. In 1996, both practices were replaced by the latest approach known as standard precautions (health care). Nowadays and in isolation, practice of body substance isolation has just historical significance.
Body substance isolation went further than universal precautions in isolating workers from pathogens, including substances now currently known to carry HIV. These pathogens fall into two broad categories, bloodborne (carried in the body fluids) and airborne. The practice of BSI was common in Pre-Hospital care and emergency medical services due to the often unknown nature of the patient and his/her disease or medical conditions. It was a part of the National Standards Curriculum for Prehospital Providers and Firefighters.
Types of body substance isolation included:
It was postulated that BSI precautions should be practiced in environment where treaters were exposed to bodily fluids, such as:
- blood, semen, preseminal fluid, vaginal secretions, synovial fluid, amniotic fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, pleural fluid, peritoneal fluid, marrow, pericardial fluid, feces, nasal secretions, urine, vomitus, sputum, mucus, cervical mucus, phlegm, saliva, breastmilk, colostrum, and secretions and blood from the umbilical cord
Such infection control techniques that were recommended following the AIDS outbreak in the 1980s. Every patient was treated as if infected and therefore precautions were taken to minimize risk. Other conditions which called for minimizing risks with BSI:
- Diseases with air-borne transmission (e.g., tuberculosis)
- Diseases with droplet transmission (e.g., mumps, rubella, influenza, pertussis)
- Transmission by direct or indirect contact with dried skin (e.g., colonisation with MRSA) or contaminated surfaces
- Prion diseases (e.g., Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease)
or any combination of the above.
- LYNCH, PATRICIA; Jackson, M. M.; Cummings, M. J.; Stamm, W. E. (1 August 1987). "Rethinking the Role of Isolation Practices in the Prevention of Nosocomial Infections". Annals of Internal Medicine. 107 (2): 243–6. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-107-2-243. PMID 3605901.
- "Leads from the MMWR. Update: universal precautions for prevention of transmission of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus, and other bloodborne pathogens in health-care settings". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association. 260 (4): 462. 1988. doi:10.1001/jama.260.4.462.
- "Leads from the MMWR. Recommendations for preventing transmission of infection with human T-lymphotropic virus type III/lymphadenopathy-associated virus during invasive procedures". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association. 256 (10): 1257. 1986. doi:10.1001/jama.256.10.1257.