Pilot trial to compare tolerance of chlorhexidine gluconate to povidone-iodine antisepsis for central venous catheter placement in neonates

J Perinatol. 2009 Dec;29(12):808-13. doi: 10.1038/jp.2009.161. Epub 2009 Oct 8.


Objective: The purpose of this pilot trial was to determine whether rates of contact dermatitis following cutaneous antisepsis for central catheter placement were similar among neonates treated with chlorhexidine gluconate and povidone-iodine. Chlorhexidine gluconate absorption was also evaluated.

Study design: Infants weighing > or =1500 g and > or =7 days of age were randomized to a 10% povidone-iodine or 2% chlorhexidine gluconate site scrub before catheter placement. Primary outcomes evaluated included dermatitis, catheter colonization and chlorhexidine gluconate absorption.

Result: A total of 48 neonates were enrolled. Colonization rates were similar among treatment groups (P<0.6). Dermatitis did not occur at chlorhexidine gluconate (central catheters, n=24; peripheral catheters, n=29) sites. Seven neonates had measurable chlorhexidine gluconate concentrations (range 13 to 100 ng ml(-1)) during catheterization.

Conclusion: In this small trial chlorhexidine gluconate antisepsis was tolerated by study neonates. Chlorhexidine gluconate was cutaneously absorbed. Larger trials are needed to determine efficacy and tolerance of chlorhexidine gluconate in neonates.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / pharmacokinetics
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Catheters, Indwelling / microbiology
  • Chlorhexidine / adverse effects
  • Chlorhexidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Chlorhexidine / blood
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Povidone-Iodine / adverse effects*
  • Skin Absorption


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Povidone-Iodine
  • chlorhexidine gluconate
  • Chlorhexidine