News Brief by Meg Thode

    A study performed by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that chlorhexidine is more effective than iodine in preventing infections after cesarean sections. The researchers state that the evidence is strong enough to recommend changes to the standard practice. Conducted at Barnes-Jewish Hospital between 2011 and 2015, the study found that the infection rate of women prepped with chlorhexidine-alcohol was nearly half that of women treated with the traditional iodine-alcohol solution — 4 percent to 7.3 percent. The trial included 1,147 women of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, and the conclusion remained consistent whether the procedure was planned or unplanned, whether or not the woman was obese, whether or not she had a chronic medical condition (e.g. diabetes), and whether or not sutures or staples were used to close the wound. These findings contribute to the growing body of evidence that chlorhexidine is more effective than iodine at preventing infections in surgical procedures. Infection is the most common complication from cesarean sections. Currently, 5 to 12 percent of women who receive c-sections develop surgical-site infections, which cost $3,500 to resolve, on average. Author Methodius G. Tuuli, MD says the team is “very interested in clarifying the best ways to prevent these infections, reducing the burden on the patients, on their infants and on the health-care system as a whole."

Methodius G. Tuuli, Jingxia Liu, Molly J. Stout, Shannon Martin, Alison G. Cahill, Anthony O. Odibo,  Graham A. Colditz, George A. Macones. A Randomized Trial Comparing Skin Antiseptic Agents  at Cesarean Delivery.ew England Journal of Medicine, 2016; 160204054510008

Washington University School of Medicine. "To prevent infection after C-section, chlorhexidine  better than iodine: Evidence strong enough to change standard skin-prep practices for the  procedure, researchers say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2016. .