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Evaluating the effectiveness of octenidine-containing wash mitts in reducing infections in intensive care

08 September 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 16


Patients in intensive care units (ICUs) are at a greater risk of developing hospital-acquired infections (HCAIs). Decontamination, which usually includes a regimen of body washing with an antimicrobial skin cleanser, is used to prevent HCAIs. Approaches can be: targeted, where carriers are identified and decontaminated; or universal, where all patients undergo a decontamination regimen. Universal rather than targeted decontamination is more effective at reducing infection rates and is more cost-effective. Decontamination in the ICU can lower HCAI rates across the entire hospital. Microbial resistance to chlorhexidine, however, which is the main active agent used for decontamination is increasing, and there are also adverse effects, leading to interest in octenidine as an alternative. This article explores the use of octenidine-containing single-use wash mitts in ICUs, which have been positively evaluated regarding antimicrobial activity, and ease and effectiveness of use.

Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) and, despite the decline of meticillin-resistant Staph. aureus (MRSA), infection remains a major cause of avoidable morbidity and mortality in hospitals (Bradley et al, 2017). Patients in intensive care units (ICUs) are at particular risk from the complications of HCAI and have a worse clinical outcome as a result of these than patients on general wards (Nuvials et al, 2015). The ICU is also a potential reservoir that can lead to the spread of hospital infections (Edgeworth, 2011; Bradley et al, 2017) and research suggests that infection control procedures undertaken in ICU affect patients throughout the entire hospital (Bradley et al, 2017).

For many years, a key approach to infection prevention was to identify MRSA-colonised patients, isolate them and instigate a targeted decontamination regimen using topical antimicrobials. There is, however, evidence that universal rather than targeted decontamination in ICU is more effective at reducing rates of bloodstream infections and in lowering costs (Robotham et al, 2011; Huang et al, 2014).

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