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Crit Care Med. 2001 Feb;29(2):405-12.

The role of gown and glove isolation and strict handwashing in the reduction of nosocomial infection in children with solid organ transplantation.

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Critical Care Services, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



Nosocomial infection is an important contributor to morbidity and mortality in pediatric solid organ transplantation. The relative effect of protective gown and glove isolation was compared with strict handwashing in pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) patients with solid organ transplantation.


A prospective, randomized design was used; children in a 23-bed PICU with solid organ transplantation were enrolled into a gown and glove protective isolation protocol or a strict handwashing protocol.


All children admitted to the PICU immediately after solid organ transplantation, excluding renal transplantation, and at subsequent readmissions to the PICU were eligible for the study. Children with current infection or known exposure to varicella were excluded from the study initially or at readmission.


By using a block randomization design based on organ transplanted, age, and initial admission vs. readmission, each patient was randomized to either strict handwashing or protective gown and glove isolation intervention groups.


We analyzed demographics, infection outcomes (defined according to Centers for Disease Control criteria), and monitoring of patient contacts in compliance with protocols.


The infection rate in the overall PICU population did not change significantly from the year before the study compared with during the study (2.1 per 100 vs. 1.95 per 100 patient days; p =.4) The infection rate in the gown and glove group (2.3 per 100 patient days) was reduced significantly compared with the prestudy infection rate in the transplant population (4.9 per 100 patient days; p =.0008). Strict handwashing also significantly reduced the infection rate in the transplant population (3.0 per 100 patient days; p =.008). Compliance with gowning and gloving was 82% and compliance with handwashing was 76% (compared with 22% before study [p <.0001] and 52% after the study [p <.0001]). Despite an increased mean length of stay in the PICU in the gown and glove group (p =.014), there was a trend toward reduction in the incidence of infection (Fisher's exact test, p =.07; odds ratio,.76) in the gown and glove group.


Increased compliance with handwashing was associated with a reduction in nosocomial infections, and gown and glove isolation appeared to have an additional protective effect. Some nosocomial infections may be preventable in the pediatric solid organ transplantation population.

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