Does single application of topical chloramphenicol to high risk sutured wounds reduce incidence of wound infection after minor surgery? Prospective randomised placebo controlled double blind trial

Heal, Clare F., Buettner, Petra G., Cruickshank, Robert, Graham, David, Browning, Sheldon, Pendergast, Jayne, Drobetz, Herwig, Gluer, Robert, and Lisec, Carl (2009) Does single application of topical chloramphenicol to high risk sutured wounds reduce incidence of wound infection after minor surgery? Prospective randomised placebo controlled double blind trial. British Medical Journal, 338 (7688).

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Abstract

Objective: To determine the effectiveness of a single application of topical chloramphenicol ointment in preventing wound infection after minor dermatological surgery.

Design: Prospective randomised placebo controlled double blind multicentre trial.

Setting: Primary care in a regional centre in Queensland, Australia.

Participants: 972 minor surgery patients.

Interventions: A single topical dose of chloramphenicol (n=488) or paraffin ointment (n=484; placebo).

Main outcome measure: Incidence of infection.

Results: The incidence of infection in the chloramphenicol group (6.6%; 95% confidence interval 4.9 to 8.8) was significantly lower than that in the control group (11.0%; 7.9 to 15.1) (P=0.010). The absolute reduction in infection rate was 4.4%, the relative reduction was 40%, and the relative risk of wound infection in the control group was 1.7 (95% confidence interval 1.1 to 2.5) times higher than in the intervention group. The number needed to treat was 22.8.

Conclusion: Application of a single dose of topical chloramphenicol to high risk sutured wounds after minor surgery produces a moderate absolute reduction in infection rate that is statistically but not clinically significant.

Item ID: 5125
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: wound infection, general practice, chloramphenicol, randomised controlled trial
ISSN: 1756-1833
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2009 06:16
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111717 Primary Health Care @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920117 Skin and Related Disorders @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 50%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 15
Downloads: Total: 11
Last 12 Months: 2
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