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Surgery. 2013 Jul;154(1):89-100. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2013.03.008.

Is there an evidence-based argument for embracing an antimicrobial (triclosan)-coated suture technology to reduce the risk for surgical-site infections?: A meta-analysis.

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Department of Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.



It has been estimated that 750,000 to 1 million surgical-site infections (SSIs) occur in the United States each year, causing substantial morbidity and mortality. Triclosan-coated sutures were developed as an adjunctive strategy for SSI risk reduction, but a recently published systematic literature review and meta-analysis suggested that no clinical benefit is associated with this technology. However, that study was hampered by poor selection of available randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and low patient numbers. The current systematic review involves 13 randomized, international RCTs, totaling 3,568 surgical patients.


A systematic literature search was performed on PubMed, Embase/Medline, Cochrane database group (Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Health Economic Evaluations Database/Database of Health Technology Assessments), and to identify RCTs of triclosan-coated sutures compared with conventional sutures and assessing the clinical effectiveness of antimicrobial sutures to decrease the risk for SSIs. A fixed- and random-effects model was developed, and pooled estimates reported as risk ratio (RR) with a corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI). Publication bias was assessed by analyzing a funnel plot of individual studies and testing the Egger regression intercept.


The meta-analysis (13 RCTs, 3,568 patients) found that use of triclosan antimicrobial-coated sutures was associated with a decrease in SSIs in selected patient populations (fixed effect: RR = 0.734; 95% CI: 0.590-0.913; P = .005; random-effect: RR = 0.693; 95% CI: 0.533-0.920; P = .011). No publication bias was detected (Egger intercept test: P = .145).


Decreasing the risk for SSIs requires a multifaceted "care bundle" approach, and this meta-analysis of current, pooled, peer-reviewed, randomized controlled trials suggests a clinical effectiveness of antimicrobial-coated sutures (triclosan) in the prevention of SSIs, representing Center for Evidence-Based Medicine level 1a evidence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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