In an article published in The Journal of Arthroplasty, authors Stambough et al. outlined the efficacy of controlling modifiable risk factors, specifically the decolonization of patients for Staph bacteria. There are multiple modifiable risk factors that can be improved prior to elective joint replacement surgery. These include the patients weight, smoking cessation, optimizing medical comorbidities. The authors of this article talk about the value of using universal decolonization, that is, treating all patients prior to surgery to eliminate the 20 percent of individuals who carry staph on their skin or mucous membranes. They compared universal decolonization with a screening/treating protocol where patients are screened and those who are positive for carrying staph bacteria are treated. What the authors found is that it was more economical and outcomes were improved in the universal decolonization. This involves, in this particular study, five days of chlorhexidine showers and use of a specific antibiotic ointment for the nose. Modifications of these protocols including one to three days of chlorhexidine showers and use of either antibiotic ointment in the nose or and iodine solution have been utilized to decrease the risk of bacterial contamination of the patient. These and other studies point to the importance of optimizing modifiable risk factors prior to elective joint replacement surgery. This requires some coordination between the patient, the doctors office, and the hospital prior to surgery, but optimizing these various factors can lead to a better outcome with fewer complications.
Tags:joint center at valley medical centerjoint replacementstaph infectionThe Journal of ArthroplastyValley Medical Centerwilliam barrett
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