Waterless Hand Rub Versus Traditional Hand Scrub Methods for Preventing the Surgical Site Infection in Orthopedic Surgery

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Abstract

Study Design.

A retrospective cohort study with prospectively collected data.

Objective.

The aim of this study was to compare SSI incidences, the cost of hand hygiene agents, and hand hygiene time between the traditional hand scrub and the waterless hand rub protocols before orthopedic surgery.

Summary of Background Data.

Surgical site infections (SSI) prolong hospitalization and are a leading nosocomial cause of morbidity and a source of excess cost. Recently, a waterless hand rub protocol comprising alcohol based chlorhexidine gluconate for use before surgery was developed, but no studies have yet examined its utility in orthopedic surgery.

Methods.

Fourteen hundred consecutive patients who underwent orthopedic surgery (spine, joint replacement, hand, and trauma surgeries) in our hospital since April 1, 2012 were included. A total of 712 cases underwent following traditional hand scrub between April 1, 2012 and April 30, 2013 and 688 cases underwent following waterless hand rub between June 1, 2013 and April 30, 2014. We compared SSI incidences within all and each subcategory between two hand hygiene protocols. All patients were screened for SSI within 1 year after surgery. We compared the cost of hand hygiene agents and hand hygiene time between two groups.

Results.

The SSI incidences were 1.3% (9 of 712) following the traditional protocol (2 deep and 7 superficial infections) and 1.1% (8 of 688) following the waterless protocol (all superficial infections). There were no significant differences between the two groups. The costs of liquids used for one hand hygiene were about $2 for traditional hand scrub and less than $1 for waterless hand rub. The mean hand hygiene time was 264 seconds with the traditional protocol and 160 seconds with the waterless protocol.

Conclusion.

Waterless hand rub with an alcohol based chlorhexidine gluconate solution can be a safe, quick, and cost-effective alternative to traditional hand scrub.

Conclusion.

Level of Evidence: 3

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