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Iodine antiseptic and surgical-site infections

A large multicentre clinical trial found that an antiseptic containing iodine resulted in about one-quarter fewer post-surgical infections in patients with limb fractures compared to another frequently used skin antiseptic.

Healthcare workers performing surgery at hospital - Image credit | iStock-1145212202

The results of the study of nearly 8500 patients across the US and Canada have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study – which compared the two most commonly used alcohol-based solutions, one with iodine povacrylex, and the other with chlorhexidine gluconate – may prompt changes in the type of antiseptic orthopaedic surgeons use to prepare the skin to repair fractures.

Researchers saw the benefit in patients with closed, or simple fractures, where the skin remains intact, but not in compound fractures with open wounds, although they noted that using the iodine preparation was not harmful to these open-fracture patients.

“Our results suggest that the use of iodine povacrylex in alcohol as a preoperative skin antiseptic could prevent surgical-site infections in thousands of patients with closed fractures each year,” said co-principal investigator Gerard Slobogean, an Associate Professor of Orthopaedics and Director of Clinical Research in the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Image credit | iStock

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