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Bath patients with antiseptic

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ICU patients cleaned daily with the antiseptic chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) are less likely to contract primary bloodstream infections than those washed in soap and water, say US researchers.

A 12-month, crossover study of 836 patients showed soap and water use resulted in 10.4 primary bloodstream infections per 1,000 patient days, compared to 4.1 for the antiseptic solution. The incidences of other infections, including clinical sepsis, were similar between the units.

The authors said: ‘Daily cleansing of ICU patients with CHG-impregnated cloths is a simple, effective strategy to decrease the rate of primary bloodstream infections.’

Archives of Internal Medicine (2007) 167: 2073-2079

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