RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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Effect of oral hygiene with 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate on the incidence of nosocomial pneumonia in children undergoing cardiac surgery.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of oral hygiene with 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate on the incidence of nosocomial pneumonia and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in children undergoing cardiac surgery.

DESIGN: Prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

SETTING: Pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at a tertiary care hospital.

PATIENTS: One hundred sixty children undergoing surgery for congenital heart disease, randomized into 2 groups: chlorhexidine (n = 87) and control (n = 73).

INTERVENTIONS: Oral hygiene with 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate or placebo preoperatively and twice a day postoperatively until PICU discharge or death.

RESULTS: Patients in experimental and control groups had similar ages (median, 12.2 vs 10.8 months; P = .72) and risk adjustment for congenital heart surgery 1 score distribution (66% in category 1 or 2 in both groups; P = .17). The incidence of nosocomial pneumonia was 29.8% versus 24.6% (P = .46) and the incidence of VAP was 18.3% versus 15% (P = .57) in the chlorhexidine and the control group, respectively. There was no difference in intubation time (P = .34), need for reintubation (P = .37), time interval between hospitalization and nosocomial pneumonia diagnosis (P = .63), time interval between surgery and nosocomial pneumonia diagnosis (P = .10), and time on antibiotics (P = .77) and vasoactive drugs (P = .16) between groups. Median length of PICU stay (3 vs 4 days; P = .53), median length of hospital stay (12 vs 11 days; P = .67), and 28-day mortality (5.7% vs 6.8%; P = .77) were also similar in the chlorhexidine and the control group.

CONCLUSIONS: Oral hygiene with 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate did not reduce the incidence of nosocomial pneumonia and VAP in children undergoing cardiac surgery.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00829842 .

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