Despite a 46% reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) in US healthcare facilities from 2008-2013, an estimated 30,000 infections continue to occur annually among hospitalized patients.1 A common mode of pathogenesis for these infections is needleless connector contamination with microorganisms from the patient’s skin and/or the hands of healthcare workers (HCWers). Inadequate disinfection of these connectors, which are accessed multiple times by HCWers in the provision of patient care, can result in intraluminal colonization of the catheter and subsequent bloodstream infection (BSI).
There has been a plethora of scientific literature demonstrating that healthcare-associated pathogens, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) and Clostridium difficile, frequently contaminate both porous and non-porous surfaces in the healthcare environment. This microbial burden on environmental surfaces serves as a reservoir for direct transmission of pathogens to the patient or as an indirect mode of transmission through contaminated reusable patient care equipment and/or healthcare workers’ hands and gloves. Along with hand hygiene and the implementation of best practices to prevent healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), environmental cleaning is a fundamental component of a comprehensive infection prevention program.
Chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) is an antibacterial antiseptic with the ability to inhibit and kill bacteria associated with healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). In the last two decades, investigators have researched the use of CHG for hand hygiene, oral hygiene, pre-operative bathing, insertion and maintenance of central venous catheters (CVCs), and daily bathing of patients with CVCs. The rapid antimicrobial activity of CHG, in addition to the persistent and residual antibacterial effect for up to six hours on the skin, has led to recommendations for its use as a healthcare provider hand soap, showering/bathing agent prior to surgery, skin preparation agent for drawing blood cultures and for preparing the skin prior to the insertion of intravascular lines.