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Study finds PurThread hospital privacy curtains resist superbug contamination eight times better than control curtains
In what is hailed as a first of its kind study conducted by the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, standard control curtains were found to be eight times more likely to be contaminated with the superbug vancomycin resistant enterrococus (VRE) than experimental PurThread privacy curtains which only had one positive VRE culture during the entire study.
Additionally, the median time to first contamination of PurThread curtains took seven times longer than control curtains. On average it took only two days for control curtains to become contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria, while PurThread curtains withstood contamination an average of 14 days.
This double-blinded Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) is said to be the first and only peer-reviewed study of its kind to assess the effectiveness of privacy curtains with antimicrobial properties in an active clinical setting. The study, titled 'Novel Hospital Curtains with Antimicrobial Properties: A Randomized, Controlled Trial', was published online in the journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.
"Without environmental hygiene, hand hygiene is insufficient to the challenge," said August Valenti, M.D infectious disease physician at InterMed Maine Medical Center.
"Healthcare Associated Infections are the fourth highest cause of mortality among US adults, and current hand hygiene efforts, while critical, are simply insufficient to the challenge of environmental contamination in the patient setting. This study suggests that continuously active surfaces, like those under development by PurThread, are solutions that may enhance hand hygiene efforts and provide an additional layer of patient safety."
Privacy curtains were chosen for the study because they are frequently touched by the freshly washed hands of healthcare workers before touching patients and they often hang in place for weeks or months without being changed. A previous University of Iowa study, 'Hospital Privacy Curtains are Frequently and Rapidly Contaminated with Potentially Pathogenic Bacteria' revealed 92% of hospital privacy curtains were contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and VRE within one week of being laundered. Additionally, published studies have shown the transfer of bacteria from curtains to healthcare worker gloves, and that healthcare worker hands are considered leading vectors of pathogens to patients.
"The study demonstrates PurThread's commitment to the highest standards of scientific rigour and clinical integrity as it develops this promising new technology," argues Kathryn Bowsher, VP of Clinical and Regulatory Strategy at PurThread Technologies.
"The contamination variation, in this study, between PurThread experimental curtains and control curtains, shows the antimicrobial materials being developed by PurThread can have a measurable and meaningful impact in a clinical setting. The scientific literature shows that a cleaner patient environment contributes to a reduction in the transmission of healthcare associated pathogens, and this study strengthens our efforts to develop medical textiles that reduce bioburden contamination and contribute to a more hygienic patient environment."
In total the University of Iowa study evaluated the privacy curtains in 30 rooms that admitted many patients with active infections (21 surgical intensive care units (ICU) rooms and nine medical ICUs). Fifteen rooms were randomly selected to have a new, standard curtain installed, while the remainder were fitted with experimental PurThread curtains, identical in look and feel. All 30 curtains were swabbed to collect samples for culturing twice a week for four weeks.
PurThread Technologies is a development-stage company dedicated to using its proprietary antimicrobial technology to help hospitals reduce the bioburden on hard-to-clean soft surfaces in the patient environment. PurThread is developing linens, privacy curtains, scrubs and doctors' coats for use in high touch/high risk environments to help reduce the risk of constantly recirculating bacteria among different touch points.
11th October 2012