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Journal Article

Impact of Chlorhexidine Bathing on Hospital-Acquired Infections among General Medical Patients

Steven Z. Kassakian MD, Leonard A. Mermel DO, ScM, Julie A. Jefferson RN, MPH, Stephen L. Parenteau MS and Jason T. Machan PhD
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Vol. 32, No. 3 (March 2011), pp. 238-243
DOI: 10.1086/658334
Stable URL:
Page Count: 6
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Impact of Chlorhexidine Bathing on Hospital-Acquired Infections among General Medical Patients
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Background. A paucity of data exists regarding the effectiveness of daily chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) bathing in non–intensive care unit (ICU) settings.Objective. To evaluate the effectiveness of daily CHG bathing in a non-ICU setting to reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enteroccocus (VRE) hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), compared with daily bathing with soap and water.Design. Quasi-experimental study design; the primary outcome was the composite incidence of MRSA and VRE HAIs. Clostridium difficile HAI incidence was measured as a nonequivalent dependent variable with which to assess potential confounders.Setting. Four general medicine units, with a total of 94 beds, at a 719-bed academic tertiary-care facility in Providence, Rhode Island.Patients. A total of 7,102 and 7,699 adult patients were admitted to the medical service in the control and intervention groups, respectively. Patients admitted from January 1 through December 31, 2008, were bathed daily with soap and water (control group), and those admitted from February 1, 2009, through March 31, 2010, were bathed daily with CHG-impregnated cloths (intervention group).Results. Daily bathing with CHG was associated with a 64% reduced risk of developing the primary outcome, namely, the composite incidence of MRSA and VRE HAIs (hazard ratio, 0.36 [95% CI, 0.2–0.8]; ). There was no change in the incidence of C. difficile HAIs (). Colonization with MRSA was associated with an increased risk of developing a MRSA HAI (hazard ratio, 8 [95% CI, 3–19]; ).Conclusion. Daily CHG bathing was associated with a reduced HAI risk, using a composite endpoint of MRSA and VRE HAIs, in a general medical inpatient population.

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