Silver-Impregnated Dressings for Sternotomy Incisions to Prevent Surgical Site Infections in Children

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Abstract

Background

The consequences of surgical site infections can be severe and range from short-term delays in discharge from the hospital to life-threatening infections such as mediastinitis.

Objectives

To evaluate the effectiveness of silver-impregnated dressings in decreasing surgical site infections in children after cardiac surgery.

Methods

A randomized, controlled trial was used to compare silver-impregnated dressings (59 participants) with standard dressings (58 participants). The study team supervised all dressing changes after a sternotomy and ensured adherence with the hospital's bundle for reduction of surgical site infections. The ASEPSIS tool was used to evaluate sternal wounds for evidence of infection.

Results

The 2 groups had comparable Risk Adjustment for Congenital Heart Surgery scores, age, sex, weight, height, operating room characteristics, and number of chest tubes and/or pacemaker wires. No surgical site infections occurred in any study participant. Infections did occur, however, during the same period, in cardiac surgical patients who were not enrolled in the study.

Conclusions

The evidence did not support the superiority of silver-impregnated dressings for prevention of surgical site infections in children after cardiac surgery. Adherence to a bundle for prevention of surgical site infections may have decreased the incidence of such infections in the study population during the study period.

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