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Alcohol preparation compared to traditional surgical hand antisepsis: acceptance by surgical team at a private hospital in Brazil

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Traditional surgical hand scrubbing (TSHS) has been replaced by alcohol-based formulation (ABF) in many countries due to antimicrobial efficacy, easy application, lower skin damage, time saver and no recontamination risk by rinsing hands with water [1]. In Brazil, chlorhexidine (CHG) and povidone-iodine (PVPI) are used for TSHS.


Compare one ABF to TSHS, evaluating surgical team acceptance and time, water, products and waste savings.


This before-after intervention evaluation, quantitative study was conducted in two operating suites (26 rooms) at a 650-bed private hospital - São Paulo, Brazil. The ABF approved for surgical hand antisepsis by ASTM-E1115, CEN-EN 12791 and Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency was available for 12-week (May-July/2014). The subjects that met inclusion criteria answered two questionnaires: before and after ABF introduction, evaluating the following attributes: softness, dryness, irritation, skin feel, easiness in putting on surgical gloves, drying time, etc. Chi-square and McNemar tests were used. Time and water consumption were also measured.


52 (55.9 %) subjects completed the study. The majority were male (34; 65.4%), age of 36–55 years and > 16 years performing surgery (31; 59.6%). ABF was considered excellent/good by 47 (90.4%). Procedure simplifier/time saver, good fragrance, soft/comfortable/hydrated hands skin, non-abrasive/non-irritating were evaluated positively, p < 0.001. There were per person/hand antisepsis: approximately 73 seconds’ time saving, an average of 33.1 liters of water consumption saving and waste saving (surgical brushes/sterile towels).


The ABF for surgical hand antisepsis had an excellent/good acceptance by the members of surgical team. It results in considerable savings in water and healthcare associated residues as the environment is concerned.

Disclosure of interest

J. Kawagoe Grant/Research support from: GOJO - Provision of alcoholic products and techinical and administrative support, A. Toniolo: None declared, C. Silva: None declared, F. Menezes: None declared, M. Hutter: None declared, P. Zimmer: None declared, L. Barbosa Employee of: GOJO - Provision of alcoholic products and techinical and administrative support, L. Correa: None declared.


  1. 1.

    Widmer AF, Rotter M, Voss A, Nthumba P, Allegranzi B, Boyce J, Pittet D: Surgical hand preparation: state-of-the-art. Journal of Hospital Infection. 2010, 74: 112e122-

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Correspondence to JY Kawagoe.

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  • Chlorhexidine
  • Alcoholic Product
  • Administrative Support
  • Consumption Saving
  • Surveillance Agency