How to activate chlorhexidine applicators
Background: With the high costs of operating room time, minimizing potential causes of time waste is financially beneficial to surgeons and hospitals. The time needed to activate a chlorhexidine gluconate surgical solution applicator presents an opportunity for optimization. Many techniques are employed to expedite the process, however, there have been no studies comparing these techniques.
Aim: To determine the most efficient method for utilizing a chlorhexidine gluconate surgical prep applicator.
Methods: Six techniques were tested to determine which caused the sponge of a Chloraprep™ applicator to become saturated quickest. These were a single squeeze (control), up-and-down shaking, side-to-side shaking, pressing the sponge on a surface (dab), pressing with cotton swabs (poke), and continuously squeezing the lever of the applicator. The time between the internal glass breaking in the applicator to the time of sponge saturation with solution was measured for each technique. Times were then compared to determine which technique best expedited the process.
Findings: The side-to-side shake, up-and-down shake, and “dab” techniques were each significantly faster than the control group. Side-to-side shaking had the fastest time to sponge saturation on average. The average difference in time to saturation between the side-to-side shake technique and the “poke” technique may be as much as 27.5 seconds.
Conclusions: Utilization of the side-to-side shake technique, as well as the up-and-down shake and “dab” techniques, significantly expedite the time it takes to use a chlorhexidine gluconate applicator. The time savings from employing these techniques could result in significant financial benefits.
Wellington IJ, Stelzer JW, Silver J, Solovyova O. Operative Efficiency: Comparison of Methods to Optimize the Use of Chlorhexidine Gluconate Applicators. J Hosp Infect. 2021 Oct 9:S0195-6701(21)00351-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2021.10.003. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34637851.