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N Engl J Med. 2013 Feb 7;368(6):533-42. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1113849.

Effect of daily chlorhexidine bathing on hospital-acquired infection.

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1
Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Richmond, VA 23249, USA. michael.climo@va.gov

Erratum in

  • N Engl J Med. 2013 Jun 13;368(24):2341.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Results of previous single-center, observational studies suggest that daily bathing of patients with chlorhexidine may prevent hospital-acquired bloodstream infections and the acquisition of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs).

METHODS:

We conducted a multicenter, cluster-randomized, nonblinded crossover trial to evaluate the effect of daily bathing with chlorhexidine-impregnated washcloths on the acquisition of MDROs and the incidence of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections. Nine intensive care and bone marrow transplantation units in six hospitals were randomly assigned to bathe patients either with no-rinse 2% chlorhexidine-impregnated washcloths or with nonantimicrobial washcloths for a 6-month period, exchanged for the alternate product during the subsequent 6 months. The incidence rates of acquisition of MDROs and the rates of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections were compared between the two periods by means of Poisson regression analysis.

RESULTS:

A total of 7727 patients were enrolled during the study. The overall rate of MDRO acquisition was 5.10 cases per 1000 patient-days with chlorhexidine bathing versus 6.60 cases per 1000 patient-days with nonantimicrobial washcloths (P=0.03), the equivalent of a 23% lower rate with chlorhexidine bathing. The overall rate of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections was 4.78 cases per 1000 patient-days with chlorhexidine bathing versus 6.60 cases per 1000 patient-days with nonantimicrobial washcloths (P=0.007), a 28% lower rate with chlorhexidine-impregnated washcloths. No serious skin reactions were noted during either study period.

CONCLUSIONS:

Daily bathing with chlorhexidine-impregnated washcloths significantly reduced the risks of acquisition of MDROs and development of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections. (Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Sage Products; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00502476.).

PMID:
23388005
DOI:
10.1056/NEJMoa1113849
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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