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Chlorhexidine Gluconate: To Bathe or Not to Bathe?

Rubin, Caroline RN, BSN; Louthan, Rufina Bavin RN, BSN; Wessels, Erica RN, BSN; McGowan, Mary-Bridgid RN, BSN; Downer, Shantee RN, BSN, PHN; Maiden, Jeanne RN, PhD, CNS-BC

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0b013e31828404d1
Original Articles

Despite infection-prevention initiatives, hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are still a common occurrence. Chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) is an important antibacterial agent. Research indicates that the intervention of bathing with CHG can reduce the number of HAIs. Chlorhexidine gluconate is known to reduce the bioload of several bacteria, including multiple strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Research regarding the intervention of bathing with CHG was assessed and found to reduce central line–related blood stream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and vancomycin-resistant enterococci. The reduction in HAIs was found to be greater as compared to bathing with soap and water. The reduction of these HAIs will allow for a saving of resources, finances and staff time, which may ultimately be passed on to the patient. While further research is indicated, a strong conclusion is drawn that bathing with CHG reduces the number of HAIs.

Point Loma Nazarene University, 3900 Lomaland Drive, San Diego, California.

Correspondence: Caroline Rubin, RN, BSN, Thornton ICU, University of California, San Diego, 9300 Campus Point Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037 (

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.