Background: Postoperative surgical site infection (SSI) is one of the most common hospital infections and contributes substantially to postoperative morbidity and mortality. In addition, SSIs dramatically increase the treatment cost and length of hospital stay. Following visceral surgery by laparotomy, SSI rates are especially high (14-25%). Therefore, measures to prevent SSI in this field are urgently needed. Prophylactic intraoperative wound irrigation (IOWI) of the subcutaneous soft tissue before skin closure hypothetically represents an easy and economical option to reduce SSI rates and is already frequently used in clinical practice. However, there are currently no definite recommendations on the use of IOWI since high-level evidence supporting its use is lacking. Consequently, clinical practice varies widely. Antiseptic polyhexanide (PHX)-based solutions are approved for soft-tissue wound irrigation in surgery but have not been specifically evaluated in randomized clinical trials for the prevention of SSI following laparotomy for visceral surgery. Methods/design: The IOWISI trial is a multicentre, randomized, observer- and patient-blinded clinical trial with three parallel treatment groups, comparing IOWI with a 0.04% PHX solution to no irrigation (test 1) or saline (test 2) before skin closure after laparotomy for visceral surgery (contamination level II-IV). The primary endpoint of the trial is the SSI rate within 30 days postoperatively. Statistical analysis of the primary endpoint measure will be based on the intention-to-treat population. The global level of significance is set at 2.5% for test 1 and 5% for test 2 and the sample size (n=540) is determined to assure a power of 94% (test 1) and 85% (test 2). Discussion: The IOWISI trial will provide high-level evidence as a basis for clinical recommendations regarding the use of IOWI with PHX or saline and will potentially impact on future clinical guidelines and practice. The pragmatic trial design guarantees high external validity. Trial registration: Registered at the German Clinical Trials Register, DRKS00012251. Registered on 3 July 2017.
Research Areas and Centers
- Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)