Chlorhexidine bathing of the critically ill for the prevention of hospital‐acquired infection
Lewis, Sharon L. et al.
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Background: Hospital‐acquired infection is a frequent adverse event in patient care; it can lead to longer stays in the intensive care unit (ICU), additional medical complications, permanent disability or death. Whilst all hospital‐based patients are susceptible to infections, prevalence is particularly high in the ICU, where people who are critically ill have suppressed immunity and are subject to increased invasive monitoring. People who are mechanically‐ventilated are at infection risk due to tracheostomy and reintubation and use of multiple central venous catheters, where lines and tubes may act as vectors for the transmission of bacteria and may increase bloodstream infections and ventilator‐associated pneumonia (VAP). Chlorhexidine is a low‐cost product, widely used as a disinfectant and antiseptic, which may be used to bathe people who are critically ill with the aim of killing bacteria and reducing the spread of hospital‐acquired infections. Objectives: To assess the effects of chlorhexidine bathing on the number of hospital‐acquired infections in people who are critically ill. Search methods: In December 2018 we searched the Cochrane Wounds Specialised Register; the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL); Ovid MEDLINE; Ovid Embase and EBSCO CINAHL Plus. We also searched clinical trial registries for ongoing and unpublished studies, and checked reference lists of relevant included studies as well as reviews, meta‐analyses and health technology reports to identify additional studies. There were no restrictions with respect to language, date of publication or study setting. Selection criteria: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared chlorhexidine bathing with soap‐and‐water bathing of patients in the ICU.