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Chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) bathing has been used primarily in critical care to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections and infections due to multidrug-resistant organisms. The objective was to determine the effect of hospital-wide CHG patient bathing on healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
Quasi-experimental, staged, dose-escalation study for 19 months followed by a 4-month washout period, in 3 cohorts.
Academic medical center.
All patients except neonates and infants.
Intervention and Measurements.
CHG bathing in the form of bed basin baths or showers administered 3 days per week or daily. CHG bathing compliance was monitored, and the rate of HAIs was measured.
Over 188,859 patient-days, 68,302 CHG baths were administered. Adherence to CHG bathing in the adult critical care units (90%) was better than that observed in other units (57.7%, P< .001). A significant decrease in infections due to Clostridium difficile was observed in all cohorts of patients during the intervention period, followed by a significant rise during the washout period. For all cohorts, the relative risk of C. difficile infection compared to baseline was 0.71 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.57–0.89; P = .003) for 3-days-per-week CHG bathing and 0.41 (95% CI, 0.29–0.59; P < .001) for daily CHG bathing. During the washout period, the relative risk of infection was 1.85 (95% CI, 1.38–2.53; P =< .001), compared to that with daily CHG bathing. A consistent effect of CHG bathing on other HAIs was not observed. No adverse events related to CHG bathing were reported.
CHG bathing was well tolerated and was associated with a significant decrease in C. difficile infections in hospitalized patients.
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