Effect of daily chlorhexidine bathing on hospital-acquired infection

Michael W. Climo*, Deborah S. Yokoe, David K. Warren, Trish M. Perl, Maureen Bolon, Loreen A. Herwaldt, Robert A. Weinstein, Kent A. Sepkowitz, John A. Jernigan, Kakotan Sanogo, Edward S. Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Results of previous single-center, observational studies suggest that daily bathing of patients with chlorhexidine may prevent hospital-acquired bloodstream infections and the acquisition of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs). METHODS: We conducted a multicenter, cluster-randomized, nonblinded crossover trial to evaluate the effect of daily bathing with chlorhexidine-impregnated washcloths on the acquisition of MDROs and the incidence of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections. Nine intensive care and bone marrow transplantation units in six hospitals were randomly assigned to bathe patients either with no-rinse 2% chlorhexidine - impregnated washcloths or with nonantimicrobial washcloths for a 6-month period, exchanged for the alternate product during the subsequent 6 months. The incidence rates of acquisition of MDROs and the rates of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections were compared between the two periods by means of Poisson regression analysis. RESULTS: A total of 7727 patients were enrolled during the study. The overall rate of MDRO acquisition was 5.10 cases per 1000 patient-days with chlorhexidine bathing versus 6.60 cases per 1000 patient-days with nonantimicrobial washcloths (P = 0.03), the equivalent of a 23% lower rate with chlorhexidine bathing. The overall rate of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections was 4.78 cases per 1000 patient-days with chlorhexidine bathing versus 6.60 cases per 1000 patient-days with nonantimicrobial washcloths (P = 0.007), a 28% lower rate with chlorhexidine-impregnated washcloths. No serious skin reactions were noted during either study period. CONCLUSIONS: Daily bathing with chlorhexidine-impregnated washcloths significantly reduced the risks of acquisition of MDROs and development of hospital-acquired blood-stream infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-542
Number of pages10
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Volume368
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 7 2013

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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Climo, M. W., Yokoe, D. S., Warren, D. K., Perl, T. M., Bolon, M., Herwaldt, L. A., Weinstein, R. A., Sepkowitz, K. A., Jernigan, J. A., Sanogo, K., & Wong, E. S. (2013). Effect of daily chlorhexidine bathing on hospital-acquired infection. New England Journal of Medicine, 368(6), 533-542. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1113849