Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are increasingly being used in patients with advanced heart failure as bridge to transplant, bridge to decision, or destination therapy. Infections are a major complication associated with LVADs. Staphylococcus aureus is one of the common causative organisms associated with LVAD infections. Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)-colonized patients are at an increased risk for developing MRSA-associated infections. Various studies have demonstrated decolonization of skin with topical chlorhexidine and nares with 2% intranasal mupirocin ointment is effective in reducing MRSA-associated infections.
The objective of this observational study was to examine the impact of a universal decolonization protocol using topical chlorhexidine and intranasal mupirocin ointment for 5 days before LVAD implantation on postoperative infections (30, 60, and 90 days) and 30-day infection-related rehospitalization.
A preoperative universal decolonization with 4% chlorhexidine daily whole-body bath and 2% intranasal mupirocin ointment twice a day for 5 days was implemented for patients undergoing elective LVAD implantation. Using an observational study design, we included a convenience sample of 84 subjects who were established patients in an accredited advanced heart failure program. Thirty-seven patients served in the standard protocol group, and 47 in the universal decolonization protocol group participated in the observational study.
In the standard protocol group, there were 4 MRSA infections with none in the universal decolonization group (χ2 = 5.34, P = .03). In total, there were 8 surgical site infections in the standard protocol group and 1 in the universal decolonization group (χ2 = 5.95, P = .01).
A 5-day universal decolonization protocol before LVAD implantation was effective in reducing total infections as well as MRSA-specific infections.