Disinfection with 10% povidone-iodine versus 0.5% chlorhexidine gluconate in 70% isopropanol in the neonatal intensive care unit

N. Linder, S. Prince, A. Barzilai, N. Keller, G. Klinger, I. Shalit, T. Prince, L. Sirota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aim: The finding that 10% povidone-iodine skin disinfectant may compromise thyroid function in premature infants prompted its replacement with 0.5% chlorhexidine gluconate solution in 70% isopropanol. The objective of this study was to compare the incidence rates of true infection and contamination associated with the use of these two disinfectants in the neonatal intensive care unit. Methods: The study population comprised two cohorts of infants admitted to our neonatal intensive care unit: 1) in 1992-1993 when only 10% povidone-iodine was used as a skin disinfectant, and 2) in 1995-1996 when only 0.5% chlorhexidine gluconate solution in 70% isopropanol was used. A retrospective chart review was conducted to determine whether all documented positive blood, CSF and suprapubic aspirate cultures indicated true infection or contamination. True infection was defined as clinical symptoms and/or laboratory abnormalities suggestive of sepsis, with positive blood, CSF or suprapubic aspirate cultures. Results: 1146 infants were admitted during the study periods, 507 during the first period and 639 during the second. In the early group, 17.6% of infants had major malformations, 72.0% were premature and 25.2% had weights of <1500 g. Corresponding percentages for the latter group were 16.0%, 80.6% and 32.9%, respectively. No statistically significant differences were found between the two research periods in rate of infants with positive blood cultures, true infections, or contamination. Conclusion: The use of 0.5% chlorhexidine gluconate solution in 70% isopropanol as a skin disinfectant is justified in neonatal intensive care units because it is not associated with an increased incidence of infections as opposed to 10% povidone-iodine and is devoid of detrimental effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-210
Number of pages6
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Volume93
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2004

Keywords

  • Blood cultures
  • Chlorhexidine
  • Povidone-iodine
  • Premature infants
  • Skin antisepsis

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