1. März 2017

Effect of antiseptic irrigation on infection rates of traumatic soft tissue wounds: a longitudinal cohort study


B Roth, R Neuenschwander, FHH Brill, F Wurmitzer, C Wegner, O Assadian, A Kramer


Journal of Wound Care. 2017 Mar 2;26(3):79-87 / PMID: 28277997 / DOI: 10.12968/jowc.2017.26.3.79


Acute traumatic wounds are contaminated with bacteria and therefore an infection risk. Antiseptic wound irrigation before surgical intervention is routinely performed for contaminated wounds. However, a broad variety of different irrigation solutions are in use. The aim of this retrospective, non-randomised, controlled longitudinal cohort study was to assess the preventive effect of four different irrigation solutions before surgical treatment, on wound infection in traumatic soft tissue wounds.

Over a period of three decades, the prophylactic application of wound irrigation was studied in patients with contaminated traumatic wounds requiring surgical treatment, with or without primary wound closure. The main outcome measure was development of wound infection. From 1974-1983, either 0.04 % polihexanide (PHMB), 1 % povidone-iodine (PVP-I), 4 % hydrogen peroxide, or undiluted Ringer's solution were concurrently in use. From 1984-1996, only 0.04 % PHMB or 1 % PVP-I were applied. From 1997, 0.04 % PHMB was used until the end of the study period in 2005.

The combined rate for superficial and deep wound infection was 1.7 % in the 0.04 % PHMB group (n=3264), 4.8 % in the 1 % PVP-I group (n=2552), 5.9 % in the Ringer's group (n=645), and 11.7 % in the 4 % hydrogen peroxide group (n=643). Compared with all other treatment arms, PHMB showed the highest efficacy in preventing infection in traumatic soft tissue wounds (p<0.001). However, compared with PVP-I, the difference was only significant for superficial infections.

The large patient numbers in this study demonstrated a robust superiority of 0.04 % PHMB to prevent infection in traumatic soft tissue wounds. These retrospective results may further provide important information as the basis for power calculations for the urgently needed prospective clinical trials in the evolving field of wound antisepsis.

PHMB; antiseptics; hydrogen peroxide; polihexanide; povidone-iodine; traumatic soft tissue wounds; wound infection; wound irrigation