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Podcast 719: Normal Saline vs. Tap Water for Wound Irrigation

Emergency Medical Minute

Release Date: 10/11/2021

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Emergency Medical Minute

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Emergency Medical Minute

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Emergency Medical Minute

Contributor: Travis Barlock, MD Educational Pearls: Catheter related blood infections were thought to be caused by skin flora seeding the catheter. Thus, significant effort is applied to sterility and skin preparation.   However, studies have shown that bacteria growing on the tip of the catheter is not consistent with growth on cultures of skin.   Staphylococcus epidermidis is commonly found on cultures of catheter sites. It has also been found in the gut flora of >50% of ICU patients. Rates of catheter related blood infections have been decreased through oral...

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More Episodes

Contributor: Ricky Dhaliwal, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Multiple RCTs and a Cochrane Review found there is no difference in wound infection rates when irrigating with tap water 
  • Pressure of the water and how extensively the wound is irrigated were the most important factors affecting infection rates
  • Quantity and type of water were independently not as important

References

Fernandez R, Griffiths R. Water for wound cleansing. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;(2):CD003861. Published 2012 Feb 15. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003861.pub3

Lewis K, Pay JL. Wound Irrigation. [Updated 2021 Jun 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538522/

Summarized by John Spartz, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

 

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