The impact of universal glove and gown use on Clostridioides difficile acquisition, a cluster randomized trial

Clin Infect Dis. 2022 Jul 1;ciac519. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciac519. Online ahead of print.


Background: Clostridioides difficile is the most common cause of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) in the US. It is unknown whether universal gown and glove use in intensive care units (ICUs) decreases acquisition of C. difficile.

Methods: Secondary analysis of a cluster-randomized trial in 20 medical and surgical ICUs in 20 US hospitals from January 4, 2012, to October 4, 2012. After a baseline period, ICUs were randomized to standard practice for glove and gown use vs. the intervention of all healthcare workers being required to wear gloves and gowns for all patient contact and when entering any patient room (contact precautions).

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was acquisition of toxigenic C. difficile determined by surveillance cultures collected on admission and discharge from the ICU.

Results: A total of 21,845 patients had both admission and discharge perianal swabs cultured for toxigenic C. difficile. On admission, 9.43% (2,060/21,845) of patients were colonized with toxigenic C. difficile. No significant difference was observed in the rate of toxigenic C. difficile acquisition with universal gown and glove use. Differences in acquisition rates in the study period compared to baseline period in control ICUs were 1.49 per 100 patient days vs 1.68 per 100 patient days in universal gown and glove ICUs, (rate difference -0.28, generalized linear mixed model, p = 0.091).

Conclusions: Glove and gown use for all patient contact in medical and surgical ICUs did not result in a reduction in the acquisition of C. difficile compared with usual care.

Keywords: Antibiotic-resistance; Barrier Precautions; Clostridioides difficile; Contact Precautions.