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J Wound Care. 2015 Oct;24(10):441-2, 444-5. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2015.24.10.441.

Surgical site infection in elderly patients with hip fractures, silver-coated versus regular dressings: a randomised prospective trial.

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All at the Orthopedic Division, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, 6 Weizmann St., Tel Aviv 6423906, Israel.



Surgical site infection (SSI) after hip fracture surgery is a well-known complication with serious consequences for both the patient and the medical system. Silver ion treatment is considered an effective antibacterial agent, however, the use of silver dressing (SD) in the primary prevention of SSIs is controversial. The aims of this study were to compare SD with regular dressing (RD) in the prevention of SSI in elderly patients undergoing surgery for hip fractures, and to compare costs.


A matched group of 55 patients with hip fractures undergoing surgery with dynamic hip screw, cephalomedullary nail or hemiarthroplasty were randomised to either SD or RD groups. The dressings were applied in the operating theatre, and the patients were followed for one week for clinical signs of infection (discharge, erythema and fever). The RDs were replaced daily. The SDs were not removed for 5-7 days and kept moist. Skin swabs were taken from the wound surface on postoperative day 5-7 for bacterial skin colonisation.


The SD (n=31) and RD (n=24) groups were similar in age, sex and comorbidities. Infection signs were seen in two (2/31, 6.4%) of the SD patients compared with 2 (2/24, 8.3%) RD patients (p=1.0). Skin colonisation by bacteria at postoperative day 5-7 was tested in 27 patients: it was higher in the SD group (positive skin swab, 12/19, 63.2%) compared to the RD group (4/8, 50%, p=0.67). The use of SD added ~US$5 (UK ~£3.19) per patient.


The use of SD was associated with higher costs than RD, but not superior in preventing SSIs in elderly patients undergoing hemiarthroplasty or fixation of hip fractures. SD was also not effective in reducing bacterial skin colonisation following hip fracture and surgery.


cost analysis; hip fracture; infection; silver dressing; skin colonisation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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