Study points to an easy way to reduce hospital infections
Why it matters: Hospital-acquired infections kill tens of thousands annually, sicken many more and cost billions — and they're often preventable through measures like disinfecting surgical sites.
Details: There isn't a consensus on which disinfectant for preventing surgical site infections is best, said researchers at McMaster University and the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
- In a study that randomly assigned 25 trauma centers in the U.S. and Canada to one of two commonly used disinfectants in surgeries for fractures, there was a clear winner.
- In patients with broken bones that didn't pierce the skin, 2.4% of surgeries resulted in a surgical site infection with a solution of iodine povacrylex. The infection rate was 3.3% for surgeries with a solution of chlorhexidine gluconate.
- But for patients with open fractures, the infection risk was similar with both disinfectants.
The bottom line: Though the trial only included patients undergoing operations for broken bones, the researchers said the findings might apply to other surgeries.