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Vox Sang. 2002 Oct;83(3):204-8.

Impact of donor arm skin disinfection on the bacterial contamination rate of platelet concentrates.

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  • 1Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service, Hong Kong, China.



Despite improved methods for detecting bacterial contamination of blood products, bacterial sepsis remains a significant risk in blood transfusion. This study was undertaken to investigate whether adopting a different skin disinfection protocol could reduce the rate of bacterial contamination of platelet concentrates.


Two skin disinfection protocols were consecutively used in the routine blood collection setting during two 10-month periods: 0.5% cetrimide/0.05% chlorhexidine solution followed by 70% isopropyl alcohol (first 10-month time-period); and 10% povidone-iodine followed by 70% isopropyl alcohol (second 10-month time-period). The rates of bacterial contamination of platelet concentrates were monitored by using a surveillance programme described previously.


The overall bacterial contamination rate in the first time-period was 0.072%. After introduction of the povidone-iodine and isopropyl alcohol protocol, the bacterial contamination rate decreased to 0.042% (relative risk reduction: -0.42; 95% confidence interval, -0.12 to -0.61, P= 0.009). There were no differences in the types of micro-organisms identified (P = 0.7).


Skin disinfection by povidone-iodine and isopropyl alcohol is more effective than that by cetrimide/chorhexidine and isopropyl alcohol in reducing venepuncture-associated contamination of platelet concentrates by skin flora. Our data indicate that the disinfection protocol should be used on a routine basis and such implementation should translate into a significant improvement in blood safety to patients receiving platelet transfusion.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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