A new quality assurance (QA) test for surgeon's gloves is described which uses a sensitive differential pressure gage to detect glove holes as small as 0.020 mm. The test can be performed quickly and without damage to the glove. Standard holes in nickel masks, ranging in diameter from 0.015 mm to 0.10 mm, were used to calibrate test sensitivity. Air pressure losses in test gloves were compared directly to air pressure in an intact glove. Holes in glove fingers and in glove palms were made with an excimer laser and also with an acupuncture needle. These gloves were then tested with this differential air deflation test and with the standard 1000 mL water fill test. The new test offers similar test sensitivity to the 1000 mL test and, in addition, offers the possibility of quantitative leak testing.
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