○ CHG breaks down bacteria cell membranes to disinfect the skin.
○ The combination of fast-acting and persistent antimicrobial activity is the key to an effective preoperative skin preparation. IPA alone provides a 99.99% reduction in bacteria, but it does not provide long-lasting microbial kill. BD ChloraPrep™ maintains antimicrobial activity, demonstrating persistence for at least 7 days¹ compared to two hours for free iodine. Because BD ChloraPrep™ preoperative skin preparation contains the combination of isopropyl alcohol and chlorhexidine, it is more effective than isopropyl alcohol alone.
○ The chlorhexidine bisbiguanide groupings associate strongly to exposed anionic sites on the cell wall and cell membrane, particularly acidic phospholipids and proteins, causing displacement of divalent cations (Ca2+ and Mg2+). Bridging adjacent phospholipids in the cell membrane will cause a loss of structural integrity, reduce membrane fluidity and allow leakage of cellular materials. ¹³
○ Bacterial cells are negatively charged, but in the presence of chlorhexidine, the bacterial cell is neutralized and the charge is reversed. The attraction of the cationic chlorhexidine molecule and the negatively charged bacterial cell contributes to a rapid rate of bacterial kill; surface charge reversal is secondary to cell death. ³
○ In contrast, traditional iodophors can take two to three minutes until the free release of iodine can occur. While the iodophor dries, free iodine becomes available. The iodine then attacks the bacterial cell and the oxidation of two sulfhydryl groups, resulting in the formation of a disulfide bond. The effectiveness of iodophors is ≤ three hours. Lastly, iodophors are neutralized in the presence of blood and organic matter and have greater irritation than the CHG solution. ¹⁴
○ Chlorhexidine-based antiseptics have been used globally for more than 50 years and have been widely used in the US, Europe, Canada and Japan for more than 30 years. In the United States alone, more than 100 studies (excluding those focused on hand hygiene data) have been published, revealing positive outcomes related to the use of chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG)-based antiseptics. There are over 60+ published studies specifically for BD ChloraPrep™ preoperative skin preparation.