To determine blood culture contamination rates after skin antisepsis with Chlorhexidine, compared with povidone-iodine.
Retrospective, quasi-experimental study.
Emergency department of a tertiary care children's hospital.
Children aged 2-36 months with peripheral blood culture results from February 2004 to June 2008. Control patients were children younger than 2 months with peripheral blood culture results.
Blood culture contamination rates were compared using segmented regression analysis of time-series data among 3 patient groups: (1) patients aged 2-36 months during the 26-month preintervention period, in which 10% povidone-iodine was used for skin antisepsis before blood culture; (2) patients aged 2-36 months during the 26-month postintervention period, in which 3% Chlorhexidine gluconate was used; and (3) patients younger than 2 months not exposed to the Chlorhexidine intervention (ie, the control group).
Results from 11,595 eligible blood cultures were reviewed (4,942 from the preintervention group, 4,274 from the postintervention group, and 2,379 from the control group). For children aged 2-36 months, the blood culture contamination rate decreased from 24.81 to 17.19 contaminated cultures per 1,000 cultures (P < .05) after implementation of Chlorhexidine. This decrease of 7.62 contaminated cultures per 1,000 cultures (95% confidence interval, —0.781 to —15.16) represented a 30% relative decrease from the preintervention period and was sustained over the entire postintervention period. No change in contamination rate was observed in the control group (P = .337).
Skin antisepsis with Chlorhexidine significantly reduces the blood culture contamination rate among young children, as compared with povidone-iodine.