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Acta Derm Venereol. 1995 Jan;75(1):31-3.

The effect of antiseptic solutions on microorganisms in venous leg ulcers.

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Department of Dermatology, Sahlgrens' Hospital, University of Göteborg, Sweden.


The effect on the microbial ulcer flora of wet gauze dressings soaked in antiseptic solutions used for desloughing leg ulcers is not known. Quantitative cultures were therefore performed in 45 venous leg ulcers, before application and after 15 minutes' treatment with gauze dressings with four different antiseptic solutions: aluminium acetotartrate (Alsol) 1%, potassium permanganate 0.015%, acetic acid 0.25% and chloramine 0.25%. The percentage of ulcers with each type of microorganism did not differ before and after application of the antiseptic solutions. Staphylococcus aureus was found in 79% of the ulcers, gram-negative rods in 39%, S. epidermidis in 21%, Proteus spp in 21%, Pseudomonas spp in 14% and fungi in none. Potassium permanganate reduced the mean number of bacteria per ulcer from 4.4 x 10(6) to 0.9 x 10(6) (ns), chloramine from 2.7 x 10(6) to 2.2 x 10(6) (ns), Alsol from 1.2 x 10(7) to 3.5 x 10(6) (ns) and acetic acid from 6.3 x 10(6) to 2.6 x 10(5) (p = 0.007). S. aureus was reduced by acetic acid (p = 0.002), gram-negative rods by both chloramine (p = 0.03) and acetic acid (p = 0.03). The number of Pseudomonas, Proteus, S. epidermidis and Streptococcus haemolyticus group G was not reduced significantly (p > 0.05) by any of the solutions.

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