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Orthop Nurs. 2009 May-Jun;28(3):141-5. doi: 10.1097/NOR.0b013e3181a469db.

Presurgical skin preparation with a novel 2% chlorhexidine gluconate cloth reduces rates of surgical site infection in orthopaedic surgical patients.

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Debra Eiselt, BSN, RN, Employee Health Coordinator, Infection Prevention & Control, Lakeview Hospital, Stillwater, MN, USA.



Postoperative surgical site infections (SSIs) are a common complication of joint surgery. Prevention depends on adequate preoperative skin antisepsis. In previous studies, use of a 2% chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) no-rinse cloth reduced SSI rates in general surgery patients.


Patients admitted for a total joint procedure used a skin antisepsis protocol incorporating 2% CHG no-rinse cloths to do a site-specific wash on the night before surgery and in the holding area just before surgery.


In the 3 quarters before implementation of the protocol, the SSI rate was 3.19%. In the 3 quarters after the 2% CHG cloth was introduced, the SSI rate decreased to 1.59%, representing a 50.16% reduction in SSIs.


The rate of SSI was cut in half after the introduction of 2% CHG no-rinse cloths in the place of a povidone-iodine (Betadine) skin antiseptic in orthopaedic patients undergoing total joint procedures. Further testing using randomization comparative protocols are required to conclude that the decreased SSI was in fact a direct result of the 2% CHG protocol.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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