Friday, August 10, 2012

Copper for the Prevention of Hospital Acquired Infections

Copper- source: ECOTEXTILES
There is always much excitement about new technology in medicine, particularly when infections are potentially preventable by scientific breakthroughs. Here is a state of the art review article on the use of copper impregnated textiles to limit hospital acquired infections.

It is now well established that copper has antimicrobial effects in vitro. Clinical trials support the claim that copper impregnated surfaces can decrease bacterial counts, including MRSA and VRE.

Clinical trials are now ongoing to assess the impact of copper impregnated surfaces and textiles on the rate of hospital acquired infections. I am very excited to learn the results.

Several key elements need to be defined.

  • What is the minimum standard of copper impregnation on a surface/textile that would render it effective in a clinical setting?
  • Which surfaces in a hospital should be optimally targeted for copper impregnation?
  • What impact will copper surfaces have on spore forming organisms such as C.difficile?
  • Superimposed on infection prevention best practices, what would be the incremental impact of copper impregnated surfaces and textiles on hospital infections and is it cost beneficial?
These are all critical questions that must be answered before universal adoption of copper impregnated technologies for infection prevention. 

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