Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 12, pp 2232–2234 | Cite as

Chlorhexidine use in adult patients on ICU

  • Lila BouadmaEmail author
  • Tarja Karpanen
  • Tom Elliott
What's New in Intensive Care

Chlorhexidine (CHG) is a biguanide cationic antiseptic molecule, which has been incorporated into mouthwash solutions, dental gels, dressings, washcloths and central venous catheters (CVC). It has become the first-choice antiseptic to reduce healthcare-associated infections. However, the widespread use of CHG has raised concerns about increasing rates of resistance and cross-resistance to antibiotics. In this short review the antimicrobial characteristics of CHG including microbial resistance and its main clinical applications in ICU are presented.

Antimicrobial activity

CHG is available in a range of concentrations from 0.05% to 4% (w/v) in aqueous solutions and in combination with different alcohols. Formulations that contain both CHG and alcohol, such as 70% (v/v) isopropyl alcohol, advantageously exhibit the relatively rapid antimicrobial activity of the alcohol with the persisting activity of residual CHG.

CHG has broad-spectrum non-sporicidal antimicrobial activity against...


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature and ESICM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMR 1137-IAME Team 5-DeScID: Decision Science in Infectious Diseases, Control and CareINSERM/Université Paris DiderotParisFrance
  2. 2.Medical and Infectious Diseases ICUBichat-Claude-Bernard Hospital, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de ParisParisFrance
  3. 3.Department of Clinical MicrobiologyUniversity Hospitals Birmingham National Health Service (NHS) Foundation TrustBirminghamUK
  4. 4.Corporate DivisionUniversity Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation TrustBirminghamUK

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