Chlorhexidine versus Iodine

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Since the patient’s skin is a major source of pathogens that cause surgical-site infection, optimization of preoperative skin antisepsis may decrease postoperative infections. We hypothesize that preoperative skin cleansing with chlorhexidine–alcohol is more protective against infection than povidone–iodine.

We randomly assigned adults undergoing clean-contaminated surgery in six hospitals to preoperative skin preparation with either chlorhexidine–alcohol scrub or povidone–iodine scrub and paint. The primary outcome was to check any surgical-site infection within 30 days after surgery. Secondary outcome included individual types of surgical-site infections.

A total of 849 subjects (409 in the chlorhexidine–alcohol group and 440 in the povidone–iodine group) qualified for the intention-to-treat analysis. The overall rate of surgical-site infection was significantly lower in the chlorhexidine–alcohol group than in the povidone–iodine group (9.5% vs. 16.1%; P = 0.004; relative risk, 0.59; 95% confidence interval, 0.41 to 0.85). Chlorhexidine–alcohol was significantly more protective than povidone–iodine against both superficial incisional infections (4.2% vs. 8.6%, P = 0.008) and deep incisional infections (1% vs. 3%, P = 0.05) but not against organ-space infections (4.4% vs. 4.5%). Similar results were observed in the per-protocol analysis of the 813 patients who remained in the study during the 30-day follow-up period. Adverse events were similar in the two study groups.

Preoperative cleansing of the patient’s skin with chlorhexidine–alcohol is superior to cleansing with povidone–iodine for preventing surgical-site infection after clean contaminated surgery. ( number, NCT00290290.)

Source: The NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL of MEDICINE, N ENGL J MED 362;1, NEJM.ORG, JANUARY 7, 2010. Downloaded from on January 17, 2012. No other uses without permission.

As of the date of preparation of this document, the foregoing information is believed to be accurate and is provided in good faith. However, no warranty or representation with respect to such information is intended or given.


Chlorhexidine 2% in Alcohol 70%, 100ml/Red
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Iodine 1% in alcohol 70%, 100ml
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Chlorhexidine 0.5% in Alcohol 70%, 100ml/Pink
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claire hall