Published: 03 November 2022
Changing gloves and instruments before closing wounds, could reduce infections and provide safer surgery for thousands of patients around the world, NIHR-funded research finds.
Research led by surgical care experts found as many as one in eight infections could be prevented, by routinely switching gloves and instruments during abdominal wound closures.
The ChEETAh trial, now published in The Lancet, has prompted researchers to call for the practice to be widely implemented. This could make a huge impact in Low- and Middle-income Countries (LMIC) where patients are disproportionately affected by wound infections.
Co-author Mr Aneel Bhangu, from the University of Birmingham, said: “Surgical site infection is the world’s most common postoperative complication - a major burden for both patients and health systems. Our work demonstrates that routine change of gloves and instruments is not only deliverable around the world, but also reduces infections in a range of surgical settings."
Patients who develop infection following surgery experience pain, disability, poor healing with risk of wound breakdown, prolonged recovery times and psychological challenges.
In health systems where patients have to pay for treatment this increases the risk of patients being plunged into poverty. The low-cost practice of changing gloves and instruments before closing a wound has the potential to have a huge impact.
Researchers also tested a new toolkit that can make hospitals better prepared for pandemics, heatwaves, winter pressures and natural disasters that could reduce cancellations of planned procedures around the world.
Dr Sarah Puddicombe, Assistant Director for Global Health at NIHR Coordinating Centre, said: "This important study helps pave the way to make surgery safer for thousands of patients around the world. It is one of many exciting findings that are beginning to emerge from NIHR-funded Global Health Research Units, Groups and projects working with partners around the world. We are committed to research that contributes to the health and wealth of the nation and benefits people and communities globally."
They also tested a new toolkit that can make hospitals better prepared for pandemics, heatwaves, winter pressures and natural disasters that could reduce cancellations of planned procedures around the world.
Read more about NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery
Read more about NIHR global health research