"We found that the use of chlorhexidine alcohol antisepsis reduces the rate of surgical site infection by 40% as compared to povidone iodine."
Chlorhexidine and iodine have about the same bacteria-killing properties, but chlorhexidine acts more quickly and stays effective longer. It's also more expensive per application. But Darouiche says that for every extra $150 dollars.
"We are able to prevent one case of surgical site infection which can cost as low as a few thousand dollars and as high a $60,000 to treat. So the additional cost very much pales in comparison to the overall savings."
Darouiche hopes other hospitals will follow the DeBakey Medical Center's lead in adopting the new antiseptic. In the meantime, he urges patients to ask their doctor about infection prevention—before the surgical incision is made.