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J Hosp Infect. 2003 Jul;54(3):222-5.

Suitability of Sterillium Gel for surgical hand disinfection.

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Bode Chemie GmbH & Co., Scientific Affairs, Hamburg, Germany.


In some countries, alcohol-based hand gels are used for hygienic hand disinfection but their efficacy and suitability for surgical hand disinfection has never been investigated. The efficacy of Sterillium Gel was investigated according to prEN 12791 in two separate experiments. Finger tips of 20 volunteers per experiment were sampled for resident skin bacteria before surgical hand disinfection. In a cross-over design, each volunteer carried out a surgical hand disinfection with the reference alcohol [n-propanol 60%, (v/v)] or Sterillium Gel [ethanol 85% (v/v)] for 3 min. After the product application, one hand was sampled for the immediate effect, the other hand was gloved for 3 h and then sampled for the sustained effect. Samples were analysed for remaining resident bacteria. The mean of the pre-value, the 0 h and 3 h values of the reference disinfection and the test product were calculated. With the reference alcohol, respective mean immediate log10-reduction factors of 2.06+/-0.76 and 2.23+/-1.13 were found in both experiments. The mean sustained effects with the reference alcohol were 2.03+/-1.14 and 1.44+/-0.81. Sterillium Gel achieved respective mean immediate effects of 2.48+/-1.06 and 2.13+/-0.81, the mean sustained effects were 2.77+/-0.95 and 2.18+/-0.72. They proved significantly larger than those obtained with the reference alcohol (P<0.05; pair-wise Wilcoxon test). Sterillium Gel, therefore, more than fulfils the efficacy requirements for surgical hand disinfection of prEN 12791. In addition, 25 of 26 operating theatre healthcare workers in an orthopaedic hospital found it suitable for surgical hand disinfection after a single use, which included putting on a pair of surgical gloves. Although none of them had ever used an alcohol-based gel before, they had rather been accustomed to alcohol-based liquid products for years. The main reasons given for the positive assessment were better skin feeling after use, smell and easier donning of the surgical gloves. No significant correlation was found between overall or dermal acceptance and years of professional experience, profession or number of gel portions used for surgical hand disinfection (Pearson's correlation; P>0.05).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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