Is there a difference in surgical site infections in emergency caesarean sections when using chlorhexidine wipes versus soap and water wipes.

Ms Gabriela Defries1Ms Wendy Beckingham1

1 Canberra Hospital and Health Services, Garran, Australia

Surgical Site Infections (SSI) in Caesarean Sections (CS) can have a great impact on the women affected by them – socially, emotionally and financially – by delayed healing, experiencing extended pain, the cost involved with additional care such as wound care and any further treatment required and also the disruption to family life especially if re-admission to hospital is needed.

There being a difference in SSI rates between planned and emergency CS, Canberra Hospital and Health Services (CHHS) have undertaken surveillance for emergency CS. Women were asked to use soap and water wipes before going to theatre for 3 months. Following on, a further 3 month surveillance was undertaken where women were asked to use chlorhexidine wipes before going to theatre. The rates of SSIs of both groups was compared.

The obstetricians and staff of birth centre, birth suite and antenatal wards were given prior notice. The women were followed up at 30 days unless they specified that they did not wish to participate in the surveillance.

After the 6 months, the results were collated and shared with the consultants, participating wards, theatres and executives. The results indicated that further studies are required.



Gabriela trained in Sydney at Prince of Wales and Prince Henry Hospitals. She obtained her degree through Southern Cross University in Lismore & has a post-grad certificate in Public Health through University of NSW. Gabriela has been working at Canberra Hospital Health Services for approx. 20 years & for the last year and a half, she has enjoyed being part of the Infection Prevention & Control Unit.

Recent Comments