Level 2: Mid-level evidence

A systematic Cochrane review of seven randomized trials evaluated the use of plastic adhesive drapes (through which an incision is made) in 4,195 patients who were undergoing any type of surgery (Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007[4]:CD006353). Surgical-site infection occurred in 13.8% of the adhesive-drape patients compared with 11.2% of patients on whom no drape was used, based on a meta-analysis of five trials with 3,082 patients. There were no differences in the rate of surgical-site infection comparing the use of iodine-impregnated drapes vs. no drapes in an analysis of two trials with 1,113 patients. There were also no differences in the length of hospital stay, based on two trials with 603 patients.

This department uses the best available scientific findings from around the world to offer practice guidance on a wide range of conditions seen in primary care. The author, Brian S. Alper, MD, MSPH, is the medical director of clinical reference products for EBSCO Publishing, Inc., in Ipswich, Mass., and editor-in-chief of DynaMed (www.dynamicmedical.com), a database that provides evidence-based information on nearly 3,000 clinical topics and is updated daily through systematic surveillance covering more than 500 journals. The most important new research identified is used for this column.

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