The study found that Iodophor-based skin preparation solutions may be superior to chlorhexidine in preventing surgical site infections. Authored by Brian R. Swenson, MD, Robert G. Sawyer, MD, and colleagues from the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville,VA, the study appears in the October 2009 issue of the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.
The study, which examined more than 3,200 general surgery patients during an 18-month period, was performed in concert with ongoing data collection for the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Project (NSQIP). This program, which employs a prospective, peer-controlled, validated database to quantify 30-day risk-adjusted surgical outcomes, is a tool to measure and report surgical quality and outcomes and is recognized by the Institutes of Medicine, the Joint Commission and the American Board of Surgery.
“The main findings of the study were somewhat unexpected. Based on data derived from central venous catheter insertions, we had thought that the infection rates would be lowest in the period where chlorhexidine was the preferred agent for skin preparation. This was not the case.
“If these findings are reproduced in a multicenter study, switching to iodine-based preparations on a broad basis could significantly reduce the morbidity and cost associated with surgical site infection,” said Robert G. Sawyer, M.D., Professor of Surgery and Public Health Science, Co-director Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit and Director of Surgical Nutrition Services at the University of Virginia Health System and co-author of the study.
This independent study was funded in part by an unrestricted educational grant from 3M Health Care, which produces the Iodophor-based skin preparation solution DuraPrep™.