Saturday 20 April 2024

Skin deep: Chlorhexidine - history and efficacy

 This week’s article looks at the use of antiseptics for the preparation of the skin prior to surgical and other invasive procedures, focussing on topical chlorhexidine gluconate in isopropyl alcohol. 


It is important for healthcare professionals to use aseptic technique for invasive procedures that may break skin or mucous membranes, or normally sterile parts of the body. Examples include surgeries, placing a urinary catheter, suctioning, placing an IV, peritoneal dialysis site cleansing, and emptying an ICD drain. These solutions can also be used to aid the disinfection of hands of personnel entering cleanrooms as part of the pre-change procedure.


When invasive procedures are conducted, there is a greater risk of infecting the patient, so greater care is required with handwashing and disinfection, use of protective measures such as wearing sterile gloves, and with the application of an antiseptic.


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Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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