New Research Finds Changing Surgical Gloves and Instruments Significantly Reduces Surgical Site Infections

Summation

  • A new study published in The Lancet, one of the world's most prestigious medical journals, has clearly demonstrated the value of routinely changing gloves and instruments prior to abdominal wound closure, offering one of the first proven methods of reducing surgical site infection (SSI), the most common complication of surgery worldwide.
  • “The ChEETAh trial found that routine change of gloves and instruments before abdominal wound closure reduced the rate of surgical site infection (SSI) by 13% at 30 days after surgery compared with the trial control group, which is equivalent to a reduction of one in every eight SSIs,” the paper states.
  • As noted in the paper, SSI continues to be the most common complication of surgery worldwide, disproportionately affecting patients in both low and middle-income countries.

A new study published in The Lancet, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals, has clearly demonstrated the value of routinely changing gloves and instruments prior to abdominal wound closure, offering one of the first proven methods of reducing surgical site infection (SSI), the most common complication of surgery worldwide.

The paper, “Routine sterile glove and instrument change at the time of abdominal wound closure to prevent surgical site infection (ChEETAh): a pragmatic, cluster-randomized trial in seven low-income and middle-income countries,” was published October 31, 2022.

“The ChEETAh trial found that routine change of gloves and instruments before abdominal wound closure reduced the rate of surgical site infection (SSI) by 13% at 30 days after surgery compared with the trial control group, which is equivalent to a reduction of one in every eight SSIs,” the paper states.

A total of 13,301 patients were recruited into the ChEETAh trial, which took place between June 2020 and March 2022.

This reduction in SSI was seen across the trial, from large hospitals with advanced perioperative services to small, rural hospitals with only a few beds. The paper concludes that, “this trial showed a robust benefit to routinely changing gloves and instruments before abdominal wound closure.  We suggest that it should be widely implemented into surgical practice around the world.”

Mölnlycke, a world-leading medical solutions company, donated sterile Biogel® surgical gloves to participating sites, helping to support this important initiative.

“The cost of SSIs, both in terms of human suffering and healthcare costs is staggering,” said Emma Wright, Chief Medical Officer, Mölnlycke. “The simple, cost-effective process of changing gloves and instruments prior to surgical closure is a best practice that will improve lives around the world. At Mölnlycke, we are deeply committed to supporting the development of evidence-based best practices and improving outcomes utilizing high-quality medical devices.”

As noted in the paper, SSI continues to be the most common complication of surgery worldwide, disproportionately affecting patients in both low and middle-income countries. Unfortunately, the causes of SSI are many and very few interventions to reduce their occurrence have been proven effective.

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