WHO guideline on SSI prevention: more clear than feasible?

The WHO guideline for SSI prevention was launched as if it were the iPhone8. I immediately went looking for what I think is the intervention with the strongest evidence: pre-op nasal mupirocine and CHX bathing, see why here. After an interesting read I’m pleased that the guideline is clear, but I missed an evaluation on feasibility and the evidence for simplification is turned around.

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CPE Thrill-seeking

Yesterday I attended a meeting at the Wellcome headquarters in the middle of London. I deliberately exposed myself to several risks: by car from home to Schiphol, by plane to London City and by public transport to the meeting. Each transition harbors a quantifiable risk of ending up in a hospital (accidents, assaults, cardiac events) where there is a quantifiable risk of developing HAI, and I am especially afraid of CPE.

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Everything is in place.. so that’s alright then

8465992771_213dabc72c_zI am always interested in compliance. What makes staff implement an intervention reliably? What makes a patient follow the advice they’ve been given? A new retrospective cohort study purports to look at what factors influence compliance with preoperative regimes aimed at preventing surgical site infection (SSI). The authors were of the opinion that socio-economic group would be a major factor in whether individuals would be compliant with measures that are likely to reduce the risk of SSI, since this has been demonstrated to be the case in chronic health issues such as asthma. Disappointingly the authors stated that the method of determining at adherence is described elsewhere with the accompanying reference to an 4-minute abstract given at a paediatric orthopaedic conference in Toronto in 2013 which, if you weren’t there, you’ve missed it. However they do provide a small amount of detail and of the 2-5 protocol tasks they only mention bathing and decolonisation of those screened.

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Should we throw out the chlorhexidine with the bathwater?

Noto chg

Following hot on the heels of a series of studies showing that daily bathing using chlorhexidine reduces the risk of HCAI, a recent study suggests that chlorhexidine daily bathing does not reduce HCAI. The headline finding is that chlorhexidine bathing did not reduce HCAI. Before throwing out the chlorhexidine with the bathwater, it’s worth considering the limitations of the study.

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How much chlorhexidine actually makes it to a patient’s skin?

CHG

There has been much impressive research of late around the use of chlorhexidine daily bathing to reduce the burden of skin contamination and protect patients from infection. This is quickly becoming en vogue, especially for ICU settings in the USA. But what is compliance like with this intervention, and how do you measure compliance? The studies that have measured compliance previous have said “Yes, this patient was given a chlorhexidine wash today”, but have rarely gone so far as to measure the actual concentration of chlorhexidine on the patient’s skin.

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