Antiseptic cloths associated with reduced rate of treatment-resistant bacteria in the trauma center

Mar 15, 2010

Bathing trauma patients daily using cloths containing the antiseptic chlorhexidine may be associated with a decreased rate of colonization and infection by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other difficult-to-treat bacteria, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Surgery.

"Healthcare-associated infections pose a significant burden to patients admitted following major injury," the authors write as background information in the article. Chlorhexidine gluconate, a water-soluble antiseptic preparation, has broad activity against bacteria, yeasts and viruses and has previously been shown to reduce the acquisition of and other resistant organisms.

Heather L. Evans, M.D., M.S., of UW Medicine's Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, and colleagues conducted a study in which 253 patients admitted to a level one trauma center between November 2006 and April 2007 were bathed at least once daily using a single-use cloth bath product not known to have antibacterial or antiseptic properties. For the next six months, from May through October 2007, 286 patients in the same trauma center received daily baths in cloths impregnanted with a 2-percent chlorhexidine solution.

Patients receiving chlorhexidine baths were significantly less likely to acquire a catheter-related (2.1 vs. 8.4 infections for every 1,000 days with a vascular in place) or ventilator-associated pneumonia caused by MRSA (1.6 vs. 5.7 infections for every 1,000 days requiring ventilator support) than those who received baths with the non-medicated cloth. In addition, the rates of colonization with MRSA and Acinetobacter, another bacteria immune to most antibiotics, were lower among those in the chlorhexidine group.

"Antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose a unique challenge, and substantial resources are devoted to infection control to reduce their transmission. Patients with severe disease, recent surgery and indwelling devices are at higher risk of colonization and infection; , in particular, are at risk of MRSA and vancomycin-resistant enterococci," the authors write. "Poor compliance with hand hygiene, reluctance to adopt barrier precautions owing to unintended consequences of isolation and controversy over the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of legislated universal surveillance have been barriers to effective infection control."

The cloths should not be considered a replacement for hand hygiene or other precautions, but they may supplement these efforts, the authors note. "Our findings support the use of routine chlorhexidine bathing as an adjunctive measure to reduce transmission of MRSA, A. baumannii and potentially other epidemiologically important organisms that colonize the skin of critically ill hospitalized patients."

Explore further: Yellow fever epidemic presents 200-year-old lesson in crisis management

More information: Arch Surg. 2010;145[3]:240-246

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Being an MRSA carrier increases risk of infection and death

Jul 02, 2008

Patients harboring methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) for long periods of time continue to be at increased risk of MRSA infection and death, according to a new study in the July 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Di ...

Recommended for you

5 things to know about Ebola outbreak in W. Africa

8 hours ago

(AP)—There has been panic and fear about the deadly Ebola disease spreading ever since Nigerian health officials reported Friday that a Liberian man sick with the disease had traveled to Togo and then Nigeria ...

Scissoring the lipids

9 hours ago

A new strategy which enables molecules to be disconnected essentially anywhere, even remote from functionality, is described by researchers from the University of Bristol in Nature Chemistry today. The method is now being ...

User comments : 0