Surgeon Survey Reveals Need to Ascertain Compatibility of Skin Care Products with Surgical Handrubs

Harnoss, et al. (2014) says that surgical handrub and healthy skin are basic requirements to prevent surgical site infections. Nevertheless, there is little knowledge about the current practice of skin protection and/or skin care products (SP/SC) using among surgeons as well as a lack of data pertaining to the influence of SP/SC on the antimicrobial efficacy of surgical handrub.

A 10 week-survey among German surgeons as well as an experimental crossover study involving 26 participants were conducted. The immediate and sustainable efficacy (IE/SE) of surgical hand rub and participants' hand moisture were measured after an 8-day usage of SP/SC, as well as the influence on micro-perforations on surgical gloves.

The questionnaire was available to 16,000 German surgeons; 1,771 surgeons accessed the questionnaire, representing a total participation rate of 11%. As 19% (n = 338) of questionnaires were incomplete, a total of 1,433 completed questionnaires were available for further analysis. More than 75% of the participants stated not to use any SP/SC, yet, almost 50% suffered from skin irritation or discomfort. Only 5% used SP/SC at the beginning of their shift. 10% refused to use SP/SC because of concerns that SP/SC may reduce the antimicrobial efficacy of surgical hand rub.

After usage of SP/SC over 8 days, skin moisture was significantly higher (P < 0.001), whereas no significant influence on the antimicrobial efficacy of surgical hand rub was observed (IE: P = 0.135; SP: P = 0.681). Micro-perforations were detected in 8/52 surgical gloves (15%), with no statistical significant difference between SP/SC users (n = 2/26; 8%) and non-users (n = 6/26; 23%; P = 0.249).

The researchers say that following the results of this largest questionnaire base survey among German surgeons on skin care, there is a need to educate and inform surgeons on the correct application and the concept of SP/SC strategies. In the present study, the combination of selected SP/SC products and one alcohol-based handrub formulation did not show a negative interaction with surgical handrub or surgical glove perforation. However, it is advisable to ascertain the compatibility of SP/SC products with the used hand disinfectant prior to purchase. Their research was published in BMC Infectious Diseases.

Reference: Harnoss JC, Brune L,  Ansorg J, Heidecke CD, Assadian O and Kramer A. Practice of skin protection and skin care among German surgeons and influence on the efficacy of surgical hand disinfection and surgical glove perforation. BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:315  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-315