MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anthony Harris, MD, MPH
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
Professor University of Maryland
School of Medicine
Acting Medical Director of Infection Control
University of Maryland Medical Center
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Harris: The aim of the study was to understand if wearing disposable gowns and gloves for all patient contact in the ICU could help prevent the spread of MRSA and similar antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Secondarily we wanted to make sure this type of patient isolation did not result in any harm to patients. The results of the study were that gowns and gloves worn by healthcare workers for contact with all patients in the ICU did not decrease the number of patients who acquired VRE but did decrease MRSA about 40 percent. Also, wearing gloves and gowns did not adversely impact patient care. For our goal of studying all types of infection, we did not find a benefit to universal gown and glove use. However, for transmission of MRSA alone, the intervention decreased transmission by about 40 percent. Although previous studies have showed isolation is associated with falls, bed sores and other adverse events, we found gowns and gloves did not produce more of these negative events.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Harris: The lack of effect on VRE was surprising. What was also surprising but encouraging is that those units that used universal gown and gloves had higher hand hygiene compliance.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Harris: The take away message is that universal gown and gloving is a feasible intervention across a range of ICUs that decreases rates of MRSA without an increase in adverse events. Intensive care units may wish to evaluate adoption of universal glove and gown policies especially for units that have higher rates of MRSA.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Harris: Funding agencies need to continue to fund randomized trials like ours aimed at decreasing the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and decreasing the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Harris AD, Pineles L, Belton B, et al. Universal Glove and Gown Use and Acquisition of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in the ICU: A Randomized Trial. JAMA. 2013;():-. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.277815.