Skin preparation for prevention of surgical site infection after cesarean delivery

Ivan M. Ngai, Anne Van Arsdale, Shravya Govindappagari, Nancy E. Judge, Nicole K. Neto, Jeffrey Bernstein, Peter S. Bernstein, David J. Garry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To compare chlorhexidine with alcohol, povidone-iodine with alcohol, and both applied sequentially to estimate their relative effectiveness in prevention of surgical site infections after cesarean delivery. METHODS: Women undergoing nonemergent cesarean birth at greater than 37 0/7 weeks of gestation were randomly allocated to one of three antiseptic skin preparations: povidone-iodine with alcohol, chlorhexidine with alcohol, or the sequential combination of both solutions. The primary outcome was surgical site infection reported within the first 30 days postpartum. Based on a surgical site infection rate of 12%, an anticipated 50% reduction for the combination group relative to either single skin preparation group, with a power of 0.90 and an α of 0.05, 430 women per group were needed to detect a difference. RESULTS: From January 2013 to July 2014, 1,404 women were randomly assigned to one of three groups: povidone-iodine with alcohol (n463), chlorhexidine with alcohol (n474), or both (n467). The groups were similar with respect to demographics, medical disorders, indication for cesarean delivery, operative time, and blood loss. The overall rate of surgical site infection-4.3%-was lower than anticipated. The skin preparation groups had similar surgical site infection rates: povidone-iodine 4.6%, chlorhexidine with alcohol 4.5%, and sequential 3.9% (P.85). CONCLUSION: The skin preparation techniques resulted in similar rates of surgical site infections. Our study provides no support for any particular method of skin preparation before cesarean delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1251-1257
Number of pages7
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Skin preparation for prevention of surgical site infection after cesarean delivery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this