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J Hosp Infect. 2001 Mar;47(3):230-4.

Do plastic adhesive drapes prevent post caesarean wound infection?

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Tygerberg Hospitals, University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg, Cape Town, South Africa.


We conducted a prospective randomized controlled double-blind trial at a regional referral centre for the Eastern Cape area, (Livingstone Hospital) to determine whether the use of plastic adhesive drapes intraoperatively would prevent Post Caesarean Section Wound Infection. A total of 620 patients undergoing Caesarean section (CS) were enrolled for randomization in the trial. Fifteen patients were excluded, while 305 received drapes (test group) and 300 did not (control group). Two patients in the control group were subsequently excluded. The primary outcome measure was the presence of Post Caesarean Wound Infection. A secondary outcome measure was the number of days in hospital post operation. The study and control groups were comparable at entry. Results show that 34 patients in the test group (N= 305) developed wound sepsis (11.1%) compared with 30 in the control group (N= 298) (10.1%) (difference not significant; Fisher's exact test 0.6933). Average days spent in hospital postoperatively were similar for both test (infected cases: mean 10.56 SD 3.84; non-infected cases: mean 5.21 SD 1.3) and control groups (infected cases: mean 10.18 SD 3.81; non-infected cases: mean 5.2 SD 0.93) (NS). We concluded that the use of plastic adhesive skin drapes did not avert PCWS or decrease the length of post operative stay in hospital for septic cases.

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