Background There is varying evidence about the use of preoperative chlorhexidine gluconate to decrease surgical site infection for elective surgery. This intervention has never been studied in ventral hernia repair, the most common general surgery procedure in the US. We aimed to determine whether preoperative chlorhexidine gluconate decreases the risk of 30-day wound morbidity in patients undergoing ventral hernia repair. Study Design All patients undergoing ventral hernia repair in the Americas Hernia Society Quality Collaborative were separated into 2 groups: 1 group received preoperative chlorhexidine scrub and the other did not. The 2 groups were evaluated for 30-day wound morbidity, including surgical site occurrence (SSO), surgical site infection (SSI), and SSO requiring procedural intervention. Statistical analysis was performed using multivariate regression analysis and propensity score modeling. Multiple factors were controlled for statistical analysis, including patient-related factors and operative factors. Results In total, 3,924 patients were included for comparison. After multivariate logistic regression modeling, the preoperative chlorhexidine scrub group had a higher incidence of SSOs (odds ratio [OR] = 1.34; 95% CI 1.11 to 1.61) and SSIs (OR = 1.46; 95% CI 1.03 to 2.07). After propensity score modeling, the increased risk of SSO and SSI persisted (SSO: OR = 1.39; 95% CI 1.15 to 1.70; SSI: OR = 1.45; 95% CI 1.011 to 2.072, respectively). Conclusions Prehospital chlorhexidine gluconate scrub appears to increase the risk of 30-day wound morbidity in patients undergoing ventral hernia repair. These findings suggest that the generalized use of prehospital chlorhexidine might not be desirable for all surgical populations.
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