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Pediatr Int. 2019 Jul;61(7):647-651. doi: 10.1111/ped.13906. Epub 2019 Jul 23.

Skin preparation for prevention of peripheral blood culture contamination in children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Okinawa Chubu Hospital, Okinawa, Japan.
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan.
Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



In Japan, blood cultures for children are performed by pediatric residents, and povidone-iodine (PI) is the recommended solution for skin preparation. Given that PI needs to be applied for 1.5-2 min before venipuncture, skin preparation may be suboptimal if this is not followed. In this study, we investigated the blood culture contamination rate after skin preparation with only 70% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) or IPA plus PI.


We performed a retrospective study of patients aged ≤6 years who provided blood cultures in the emergency department or pediatric ward. Patients with indwelling central venous catheter were excluded. We evaluated the impact of changing the method of skin preparation, comparing the traditional method using IPA plus PI between 2008 and 2010 (IPA + PI group) with the simplified method using only IPA between 2015 and 2017 (IPA group).


A total of 5,365 blood culture samples were eligible for this study. Of these, 171 (3.2%) had an organism identified in blood culture. Of the blood culture-positive samples, 68 (1.3%) were true positive and 103 (1.9%) were contaminated. Thirty-eight (1.6%) of 2,407 cultures in the IPA group were contaminated, whereas 65 (2.2%) of 2,958 cultures in the IPA + PI group were contaminated (OR, 0.72; 95%CI: 0.48-1.07; P = 0.1). Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus grew significantly less in the IPA group (1.7% vs 1.0%, P = 0.02).


A single application of 70% IPA may be the optimal skin preparation method for obtaining peripheral blood cultures from children in Japan.


blood culture; contamination; pediatric emergency department


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