Silver has antimicrobial properties and application in infection prevention. This study compared silver-embedded coats to polyester white coats during clinical practice.
This study was a prospective randomized crossover with deception. Consenting medical residents were assigned to wear silver-embedded or control coats for 1 week and then crossed over. Bacterial cultures were obtained from 3 sites on the coat at baseline and 7 days. Bacterial growth (CFU/mL) was log transformed, and means were compared.
Seventeen participants were enrolled. Sixty-one percent of control and 45% of silver coats had bacterial growth at baseline (P = 0.113). After 7 days of wear, 98% versus 90% had growth (P = 0.205). At 7 days, a log reduction of −0.40 (0.09 to −0.71) (P = 0.011) for aggregate of all 3 sites was seen favoring silver coats. Two hundred seventy-seven bacterial isolates (124 silver, 153 control) were analyzed. Species distribution was similar between the coats.
During routine clinical use, silver coats were associated with a modest reduction in bacterial contamination compared to control coats. Clinical correlation to transmission of nosocomial organisms warrants further study.