Chlorhexidine baths reduce CLABSI

Safety IV catheter

Intravenous literature: Munoz-Price, L.S., Hota, B., Stemer, A. and Weinstein, R.A. (2009) Pevention of Bloodstream Infections by Use of Daily Chlorhexidine Baths for Patients at a Long Term Acute Care Hospital. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. 30, p.1031-1035.


Objective – To evaluate the effect of bathing patients with 2% chlorhexidine on the rates of central vascular catheter (CVC)–associated bloodstream infection (BSI) at a long‐term acute care hospital (LTACH).

Design – Quasi-experimental study

Setting – A 70-bed LTACH in the greater Chicago area.

Patients – All consecutive patients admitted to the LTACH during the period from February 2006 to February 2008.

Methods – For patients at the LTACH, daily 2% chlorhexidine baths were instituted during the period from September 2006 until May 2007 (ie, the intervention period). A preintervention period (in which patients were given daily soap and water baths) and a postintervention period (in which patients were given daily nonmedicated baths and weekly 2% chlorhexidine baths) were also observed. The rates of CVC-associated BSI and ventilator‐associated pneumonia were analyzed for the intervention period and for the pre and postintervention periods.

Results – The rates of CVC‐associated BSI were 9.5, 3.8, and 6.4 cases per 1,000 CVC-days during the preintervention, intervention, and postintervention periods, respectively. By the end of the intervention period, there was a net reduction of 99% in the CVC‐associated BSI rate. No changes were seen in the rates of ventilator‐associated pneumonia during the preintervention and intervention periods.

Conclusion – Daily chlorhexidine baths appeared to be an effective intervention to reduce rates of CVC‐associated BSI in an LTACH.


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