Study Shows 3M Avagard Surgical Hand Antiseptic Provides Superior Persistence


A new study, published in the March issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, in accordance with ASTM E1115, shows that 3M Avagard (Chlorhexidine Gluconate 1% Solution and Ethyl Alcohol 61% w/w) Surgical and Healthcare Personnel Hand Antiseptic with Moisturizers, demonstrates similar antibacterial efficacy (non-inferior) immediately after use and demonstrates superior persistent activity after six hours of glove wear (P=0.026).

In the fight against surgical site infections (SSIs), it is critical that surgeons and their teams have solid data to support their decisions on antiseptic choice, says study co-author Collette Duley, director of clinical study at BioScience Laboratories, Inc. Knowing that glove perforations and opportunistic bacterial contaminations can occur, especially during longer surgeries, it is beneficial to use a hand antiseptic with residual antimicrobial efficacy.

This is thought to be the first-ever study comparing the immediate and persistent antimicrobial activity of commercially available products. The products were applied 12 times over five days with 83 male and female healthy volunteers. Samples were collected on days one and five, immediately after drying and six hours later using the glove juice technique, and bacterial colonies were compared across products for each sample time. Statistical tests for non-inferiority and superiority were applied to compare results.

According to the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), a standardized surgical hand scrub using an alcohol-based surgical hand rub product with demonstrated persistence and cumulative activity should be performed according to the manufactures written directions for use. An alcohol and chlorhexidine product that is fast drying and has residual effect is preferred.(1) The use of a surgical hand antiseptic with persistent activity is also consistent with the recommendations in the current Guidelines for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings, as set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). These guidelines state: surgical hand antisepsis using either an antimicrobial soap or an alcohol-based hand rub with persistent activity is recommended before donning sterile gloves when performing surgical procedures and that surgical hand antisepsis should maintain the bacterial populations below baseline levels until the end of procedure. (2,3)

This study provides important information that can help surgical teams reduce the risk of surgical site infections, says Debra Rectenwald, 3M Infection Prevention Division president and general manager. Our work at 3M continues to focus on advancing the science of infection prevention and providing products that improve patient safety.


1. Perioperative Standards and Recommended Practices 2011 EDITION, 1st, Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, 2011, ISBN 10: 1888460687, ISBN 13: 9781888460681, © AORN, Inc. 2011 Recommended Practices for Hand Hygiene in the Perioperative Setting | SECTION: RECOMMENDATION III.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guideline for hand hygiene in health-care settings.MMWR.October 25, 2002; 51(RR-16):1-44.

3. WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care (Advanced Draft).Geneva, Switzerland:World Health Organization;2006.

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