Thursday, February 7, 2013

Effect of Daily Chlorhexidine Bathing on Hospital-Acquired Infection: Again

The data supporting chlorhexidine bathing of hospitalized patients continues to grow.

Here is a multicenter, cluster-randomized, nonblinded crossover trial to evaluate the effect of daily bathing with chlorhexidine-impregnated washcloths on the acquisition of MDROs and the incidence of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections. The study was published just this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Nine intensive care and bone marrow transplantation units in six hospitals were randomly assigned to bathe patients either with no-rinse 2% chlorhexidine–impregnated washcloths or with nonantimicrobial washcloths for a 6-month period, exchanged for the alternate product during the subsequent 6 months. .

A total of 7727 patients were enrolled during the study. The overall rate of MDRO acquisition was 5.10 cases per 1000 patient-days with chlorhexidine bathing versus 6.60 cases per 1000 patient-days with nonantimicrobial washcloths (P=0.03), the equivalent of a 23% lower rate with chlorhexidine bathing. The overall rate of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections was 4.78 cases per 1000 patient-days with chlorhexidine bathing versus 6.60 cases per 1000 patient-days with nonantimicrobial washcloths (P=0.007), a 28% lower rate with chlorhexidine-impregnated washcloths. 

As with previous studies, no serious skin reactions were noted during either study period.

The data supporting chlorhexidine patient bathing, in adult populations, is now irrefutable. Failure to implement is a failure to practice evidence based infection prevention. 

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