Study Shows Pulsed Xenon UV Light Can Achieve Significant Reduction of C. difficile

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Evidence continues to mount that hospital cleanliness plays a role in the spread of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs), which are caused by pathogens such as Clostridium difficile, MRSA, VRE and Acinetobacter. Hospital cleaning teams are not able to disinfect all the surfaces in patient rooms in the allotted time, with research showing that more than half of the surfaces remain untouched. Additionally, “superbugs” such as C. diff are showing resistance to cleaning fluids, making them even more difficult to remove and eliminate.

Xenex Healthcare Services recently participated in a study conducted at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to evaluate the efficacy of its pulsed xenon UV light disinfection system versus bleach in a hospital setting. Shashank Ghantoji, MD, MPH, a postdoctoral fellow, presented the poster, “Comparison of Pulsed Xenon UV to Bleach for the Decontamination of C. difficile from Surfaces in the Patient Environment” at the recent ICAAC conference in San Francisco. Sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology, ICAAC showcases the latest-breaking science and lectures from top researchers from around the world.

“The study showed a 95 percent reduction in C. diff when the rooms were cleaned with the device(s),” says Roy F. Chemaly, MD, MPH, associate professor in MD Anderson’s Department of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee Health.

In many hospitals, Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is a primary pathogen of concern. Many patients, especially those on antibiotics, are susceptible to C. diff, which can live for up to five months on surfaces in the hospital. A person with C. diff contaminates his or her hospital room and bathroom, leaving C. diff spores on the walls, handles and other high-touch surfaces.

“The results presented in this study are exciting – and consistent with what we’ve seen from our customers around the U.S., some of whom have seen drops in C. diff rates after using our pulsed xenon technology,” says Mark Stibich, PhD, chief scientific officer for Xenex. “Being able to demonstrate that our device gets a room cleaner than bleach is a milestone for Xenex – especially as hospitals are looking for environmentally friendly ways to get their patient environments clean.”

The current standard for C. diff surface decontamination in the healthcare setting is a bleach solution, which may damage hospital materials and create a toxic environment for hospital workers. Xenex Healthcare Services’ pulsed xenon UV (PX-UV) light room disinfection system has been repeatedly proven effective against C. diff in the laboratory and in patient outcome results at hospitals utilizing Xenex devices. The purpose of this study was to determine if Xenex’s pulsed xenon UV light technology is equivalent to bleach for the decontamination of surfaces in C. diff isolation rooms at discharge.

High-touch surfaces in rooms previously occupied by C. diff-infected patients were sampled after discharge but before and after cleaning using bleach or non-bleach cleaning followed by 15 minutes of PX-UV treatment. A total of 298 samples were collected using a moistened wipe specifically designed for the removal of spores and the numbers of colony forming units (CFU) of C. diff before and after each decontamination method were compared. Recovered C. diff decreased 70 percent after the use of bleach while recovered C. diff decreased a dramatic 95 percent after the use of PX-UV. In short, rooms treated with Xenex PX-UV had six times fewer CFU of C. diff recovered than the rooms treated with bleach.

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