Friday, June 5, 2015

Biocidal Linens - Too Good to be True?

The title of this article was intriguing, particularly given my prior experience with studying textiles and healthcare personnel clothing.

The investigators assessed the impact of biocidal copper oxide impregnated linens on the rates of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) in a long-term care ward. All standard linens were replaced with 
biocidal copper oxide impregnated linens and personnel uniforms were changed to a copper oxide impregnated biocidal product.

During the trial period, in comparison to standard of care period, there was a 24% reduction in the HAI per 1000 hospitalization-days (p<0.05), a 47% reduction in the number of fever days (>38.5°C) per 1000 hospitalization-days (p<0.01), and a 32.8% reduction in total number of days of antibiotic administration per 1000 hospitalization-days (p<0.0001). 

I am skeptical. The impact of potential confounders is not addressed. Hand hygiene compliance? Chlorehidine bathing of patients? Use of central line checklists, urinary catheter checklists? Invasive devices utilization ratios? Too many unanswered questions. 

Last, one of the authors is the CEO of the study's funding source. Conflict of interest!

Textiles are no magic bullet and this sounds too good be true.