Ethicon welcomes changes to Australian guidelines to reduce hospital infection rates

Ethicon*, part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Medical Devices Companies, strongly supports the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) updated Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare.

These guidelines provide a unique opportunity for Australian healthcare facilities to adopt proven evidence-based practices to address Surgical Site Infections (SSI) a common and costly complication to the Australian healthcare system that can lead to longer hospitalisation for patients and in some cases even death1.

With a 60-year history of surgical innovation, Ethicon welcomes the NHMRC’s recommendation that “Using antimicrobial-coated sutures (included on the ARTG e.g. triclosan-coated sutures) can help to reduce SSI rates.” in the hospital setting. The globally accepted evidence shows that antimicrobial sutures, such as those coated in triclosan, help to reduce a patient’s risk of acquiring an infection resulting from surgery by up to 28%2.

SSI are among the most common healthcare-associated infections (HAI) in Australia; they increase morbidity and mortality in surgical patients and represent an economic burden to the healthcare system1. In fact, Australian data shows that the average cost of an SSI may be associated with $23,097 in extra costs3,4.

The risk factors associated with acquiring a surgical site infection can be multifactorial however it is increased with the introduction of any foreign body; an example of which are sutures5. Like all foreign bodies, when implanted, sutures are rapidly coated with tissue proteins, creating sites for bacterial colonisation5. This colonisation can lead to biofilm formation, which can also increase the difficulty of treating an infection5.

This announcement adds to the growing support from other prestigious organisations, including the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, the American College of Surgeons and the Surgical Infection Society, on the positive impact triclosan-coated sutures have on reducing the risk for SSI6,7,8.

Ethicon Plus Sutures are the only commercially available sutures in Australia coated with triclosan that inhibit bacteria that are commonly associated with SSIs (including S. aureus, S. epidermidis, MRSA, MRSE, E. coli, and K. pneumoniae. from colonizing the suture9,10,11). By inhibiting bacterial colonisation of the suture by these pathogens, a key risk factor for infection is therefore addressed5.

Numerous peer reviewed, randomized clinical trials, as well as prospectively planned meta-analyses of these trials, support a growing body of evidence that antibacterial sutures are an important tool in the fight against surgical site infections2.

/Public Release.