Antimicrobial activity of a chlorhexidine intravascular catheter site gel dressing

Tarja J. Karpanen, Anna L. Casey, Barbara R. Conway, Peter A. Lambert, Tom S.J. Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: The antimicrobial efficacy of a chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) intravascular catheter gel dressing was evaluated against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and an extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli. Chlorhexidine deposition on the skin surface and release from the gel were determined.

Methods: The antimicrobial efficacy was evaluated in in vitro studies following microbial inoculation of the dressing and application of the dressing on the inoculated surface of a silicone membrane and donor skin [with and without a catheter segment and/or 10% (v/v) serum] on diffusion cells. Antimicrobial activity was evaluated for up to 7 days. Chlorhexidine skin surface deposition and release were also determined.

Results: MRSA and E. coli were not detectable within 5 min following direct inoculation onto the CHG gel dressing. On the silicone membrane, 3 log and 6 log inocula of MRSA were eradicated within 5 min and 1 h, respectively. Time to kill was prolonged in the presence of serum and a catheter segment. Following inoculation of donor skin with 6 log cfu of MRSA, none was detected after 24 h. Chlorhexidine was released from the gel after a lag time of 30 min and increasing amounts were detected on the donor skin surface over the 48 h test period. The CHG gel dressing retained its antimicrobial activity on the artificial skin for 7 days.

Conclusions: The CHG intravascular catheter site gel dressing had detectable antimicrobial activity for up to 7 days, which should suppress bacterial growth on the skin at the catheter insertion site, thereby reducing the risk of infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1777-1784
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number8
Early online date24 May 2011
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • antisepsis
  • catheter-related infections
  • ex vivo
  • Franz diffusion cell

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    Karpanen, T. J., Casey, A. L., Conway, B. R., Lambert, P. A., & Elliott, T. S. J. (2011). Antimicrobial activity of a chlorhexidine intravascular catheter site gel dressing. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 66(8), 1777-1784.