Comparison of Surgical Skin Preps During Cesarean Deliveries


In women that undergo non-emergency cesarean delivery, we are comparing the skin preparation solutions for best outcome of surgical site infection. The three different solutions are: Group 1: Iodine povidone based skin preparation solution. Group 2: Chlorhexidine based skin preparation solution or Group 3: Combination usage of iodine povidone and chlorhexidine based skin preparation solutions. Women are prospectively randomized to one of the three groups and followed until thier postpartum visit at 6-8 weeks following delivery.

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Prevention
    • Masking: None (Open Label)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: July 2014

Detailed Description

Currently the skin preparation solutions currently in use for cesarean delivery are chlorhexidine-alcohol based solutions or iodine povidone solutions There had been no recommendations of which surgical skin prep wound be best utilized for cesarean delivery, especially if the patient has risk factors for surgical site infection. Chlorhexidine solution has been reported to take minimal of 2 minutes after application to decrease the bacterial load, and continue to decrease the bacteria load up to 1 hour. Iodine povidone solution has been reported to be completely effective within 4 minutes of application. Patient's risk factor for surgical site infection, including obesity, history of incision complications, maternal diabetes, chorioamnionitis, potentially influence which surgical skin prep to be applied. Finally, the majority of postpartum infections manifest after hospital discharge and most of these post-discharge infections are diagnosed and treated entirely in the ambulatory setting, without the patients' returning to the hospital. The purpose of the study is: 1. To compare chlorhexidine based solution, iodine povidone solution, and combination of both agents in cesarean delivery skin preparation solution for prevention of surgical site infection (SSI) 2. To determine if surgical site infection (SSI) risk factors should guide selection of one specific surgical skin preparation solution. This will be a prospective randomized observational study of the women presenting for care to the Montefiore Medical Center. All patients will undergo routine obstetrical care and preparation for cesarean delivery as if they were not participating in this research study. All patients in the study will receive the pre-operative intravenous antibiotics pre-operatively as part of departmental protocol for cesarean delivery. The patients will be randomized after informed consent obtained into one of three groups: Group 1: Iodine povidone based skin preparation solution. Group 2: Chlorhexidine based skin preparation solution or Group 3: Combination usage of iodine povidone and chlorhexidine based skin preparation solutions. Sequentially numbered envelopes will contain the group of randomization for the patient created by a computer generated program which will occur prior to commencement of the study. Surgical preparation will follow the departmental protocol as if the patient were not in the study with exception of the skin preparation. Once the patient is randomized to the skin preparation group, the corresponding skin preparation solution will be used in accordance to manufacturer's guidelines for the product and Departmental protocol. If randomized to group 3 (combination), the iodine based preparation will occur first followed by the chlorhexidine based skin preparation. All groups will wait a minimal of 4 minutes prior to skin incision after application of skin prep, and all patients will be surgically draped with the standard drapes as if not participating in a study. Cesarean delivery will occur following the technique of the surgeon, including skin closure method, suture or staples. All patients will be followed until the routine postpartum visit occurs at 6-8 weeks following delivery. Postpartum visit information will be extracted from the medical record. If no postpartum visit occurs, the patient will be contacted by telephone at 8 weeks post delivery and asked about any incisional complications which may have occurred and required treatment by as physician or healthcare provider in the office or hospital.


  • Drug: Iodine povidone
    • Iodine skin preparation solution prior to cesarean delivery
  • Drug: Chlorhexidine
    • Chlorhexidine skin preparation solution prior to cesarean delivery
  • Drug: Combination iodine and chlorhexidine
    • Combination iodine povidone and chlorhexidine skin preparation solution prior to cesarean delivery

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Active Comparator: Combination iodine and chlorhexidine
    • The combincation skin preparation will utilize the iodine based preparation first followed by the chlorhexidine based skin preparation prior to cesarean delivery.
  • Active Comparator: Chlorhexidine
    • Chlorhexidine based skin preparation solution applied to skin prior to cesarean delivery
  • Active Comparator: Iodine povidone
    • Iodine povidone based skin preparation solution applied to skin prior to cesarean delivery

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Cesarean Surgical Site Infection
    • Time Frame: 42 days after delivery
    • Surgical site infection will follow CDC guidelines: A) Superficial incisional surgical site infection B) Deep incisional surgical site infection or C) Organ/space surgical site infection.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

  • Gestational age > 37 weeks 0/7 days – Non-emergency indication for cesarean Exclusion Criteria:

  • Urogenital tract infection within 2 weeks prior to surgery – Chronic oral or injectable steroid use (> 2 weeks) – Emergency cesarean delivery – Participation in another research study

Gender Eligibility: Female

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 50 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Montefiore Medical Center
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: David Garry, Co-Director Obstetrics & MFM service Wakefield Division – Montefiore Medical Center
  • Overall Official(s)
    • David A Wallach, CIP, Study Chair, Einstein IRB


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