Chlorhexidine skin prep beats iodine in SSI prevention study

More than 1 million U.S. women deliver their babies via cesarean section every year, putting them at risk for surgical site infections. A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests prepping patients with chlorhexidine-alcohol is significantly more effective at reducing SSIs than the current standard involving iodine-alcohol.

The researchers examined 1,147 patients who had C-sections at St. Louis-based Barnes-Jewish Hospital from 2011 to 2015. Of those, 572 patients received the chlorhexidine-alcohol combination and 575 patients received the iodine-alcohol combination. The patients who received the chlorhexidine-alcohol combination were significant less likely to develop an SSI within 30 days of the procedure than the patients who received the iodine-alcohol combination (23 percent versus 42 percent, respectively).

The chlorhexidine was superior to iodine regardless of whether the C-section was scheduled or unscheduled, whether staples or sutures were used to close the wound and whether the patient was obese or had chronic medical conditions, including diabetes.

According to the researchers, the evidence is strong enough to change standard skin-prep practices for C-sections.

"We are very interested in clarifying the best ways to prevent these infections, reducing the burden on the patients, on their infants and on the healthcare system as a whole," said first author and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology Methodius G. Tuuli, MD.



More articles on SSIs:
Operative infection prevention practice bundle reduces SSIs, study finds
Research reveals link between SSI rates and preventive antibiotic choice
Study: Follow-up phone calls can help detect over 25% of post-cesarean section SSIs

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