, Volume 471, Issue 10, pp 3120-3125
Date: 16 Mar 2013

No Infection Reduction Using Chlorhexidine Wipes in Total Joint Arthroplasty

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Abstract

Background

Surgical site infection (SSI) after total joint arthroplasty (TJA) is a rare but devastating complication. Various skin antiseptic applications are used preoperatively to prevent SSI. Recent literature suggests 2% chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) wipes reduce microbial content at surgical sites, but it is unclear whether they reduce rates of SSI.

Questions/purposes

We compared the SSI rates between TJAs with and without CHG wipe use (1) with all TJAs in one group and (2) stratified by surgical subgroup (THA, TKA).

Methods

We retrospectively reviewed all 3715 patients who underwent primary TJA from 2007 to 2009. CHG wipes were introduced at our facility on April 21, 2008. We compared SSI of patients before (n = 1824) and after (n = 1891) the introduction of CHG wipes. The wipes were applied 1 hour before surgery. There were 1660 patients with THA (845 CHG, 815 no CHG) and 2055 patients with TKA (1046 CHG, 1009 no CHG). Infections were diagnosed based on the Musculoskeletal Infection Society Guidelines for periprosthetic joint infection. All patients were tracked for 1 year.

Results

SSI incidences were similar in patients receiving (1.0%, 18 of 1891) and not receiving (1.3%, 24 of 1824) CHG wipes. In patients with THA, there was no difference in SSI between those receiving (1.2%, 10 of 845) and not receiving (1.5%, 12 of 815) CHG wipes. In patients with TKA, there also was no difference in SSI between those receiving (0.8%, eight of 1046) and not receiving (1.2%, 12 of 1009) CHG wipes.

Conclusions

Introduction of CHG-impregnated wipes in the presurgical setting was not associated with a reduced SSI incidence. Our analysis suggests CHG wipes in TJA are unnecessary as an adjunct skin antiseptic, as suggested in previous smaller studies.

Level of Evidence

Level III, therapeutic study. See the Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Each author certifies that he or she, or a member of his or her immediate family, has no funding or commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.
All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.
Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research neither advocates nor endorses the use of any treatment, drug, or device. Readers are encouraged to always seek additional information, including FDA approval status, of any drug or device before clinical use.
Each author certifies that his or her institution approved the human protocol for this investigation, that all investigations were conducted in conformity with ethical principles of research, and that informed consent for participation in the study was obtained.
This work was performed at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Shadyside Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
A comment to this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11999-013-3155-8.