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Ann Thorac Surg. 2011 Aug;92(2):632-7. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2011.03.132. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

A randomized trial of a skin sealant to reduce the risk of incision contamination in cardiac surgery.

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Hospital Dr. Hernan Henriquez Aravena, Temuco, Chile.



Immobilizing skin microbes is a rational approach to reducing contamination of surgical sites by endogenous microorganisms.


This randomized, controlled, parallel-group, multicenter, open-label clinical trial ( NCT00467857) enrolled 300 adults scheduled for elective coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Patients received iodine-based skin preparations followed by a cyanoacrylate-based skin sealant or skin preparations alone. Microbiological samples collected from sternal and graft incision sites immediately before any skin preparation, at the wound border after skin incision, and at the incision after fascial closure were evaluated quantitatively.


In evaluable patients, mean microbial counts in collected samples increased at the sternal site after fascial closure compared with after skin incision by 0.37 log10 colony-forming units (CFU)/mL in the skin sealant group (n=120) and by 0.57 log10 CFU/mL in the control group (n=132) (p=0.047, Wilcoxon rank sum test). At the graft site, mean microbial counts increased by 0.09 (n=119) and 0.27 (n=127) log10 CFU/mL, respectively (p=0.037). There was a 35.3% relative risk reduction in surgical site infection (SSI) occurring in the skin sealant group (9 of 146 patients, 6.2%) versus the control group (14 of 147 patients, 9.5%). In obese patients (body mass index [BMI]>30.0 to ≤37.0 kg/m2), the relative risk reduction for SSI associated with skin sealant was 83.3%.


Pretreatment with skin sealant protects against contamination of the surgical incision by migration of skin microbes. Further data are needed to confirm the impact of this technology on SSI rates in clinical practice.

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