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Am J Infect Control. 2015 Jul 1;43(7):e33-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2015.04.188.

Effect of perioperative mupirocin and antiseptic body wash on infection rate and causative pathogens in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

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Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, University of Zurch Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland. Electronic address:
Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, University of Zurch Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.
Division of Cardiac Surgery, University of Zurich Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.



Preoperative nasal mupirocin has been shown to reduce surgical site infections (SSIs) in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. We analyzed the effect of mupirocin plus antiseptic body wash on SSI rate and etiology.


Prospective SSI surveillance was done for patients undergoing cardiac surgery before and after implementation of mupirocin nasal ointment and chlorhexidine/octenidine body wash.


Overall SSI rate was 8.6% (81 out of 945) for the control and 6.9% (58 out of 842) for the intervention cohort (P = .19). In multivariable analysis, the study protocol was associated with an odds ratio of 0.61 (95% confidence interval, 0.41-0.91; P = .015) with regard to any SSI. This effect was exclusively due to a reduction in superficial SSIs and was observed both in patients with preoperative and postoperative treatment initiation. Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS), the most commonly isolated pathogen, were found in 37% and 48% (P = .19) of patients in the control and the intervention cohort, respectively. CoNS were methicillin resistant in 69% of cases.


Mupirocin and antiseptic body wash reduced the rate of superficial but not deep or organ/space SSIs. Postoperative patient treatment may be critical in reducing the risk for superficial SSI, presumably due to a reduction of bacterial skin load. A high proportion of SSI was due to methicillin-resistant CoNS and thus not covered by routine perioperative antimicrobial prophylaxis.


Chlorhexidine; Coagulase-negative staphylococci; Perioperative decontamination; Surgical site infection

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