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Assessing the risk of irrigation bottle and fluid contamination after endoscopic sinus surgery

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Background:

Saline nasal irrigation has become an important aspect of post-operative care following endoscopic sinus surgery. The objective of this study was to identify the risks of contamination of both the nasal irrigation bottle and fluid following endoscopic sinus surgery.

Methods:

This was a prospective study of consecutive patients undergoing endoscopic sinus surgery for chronic sinusitis. All patients were given nasal irrigation bottles with detailed cleaning instructions preoperatively. Nasal irrigation bottles were collected and cultured at 1 and 2 weeks postoperatively. During the same visit, 5-ml of sterile normal saline was mixed into the irrigation bottle and then cultured separately.

Results:

A total of 20 patients agreed to participate in the study. At 1 week postoperatively, 50% of the bottles had positive cultures with 40% of the irrigation samples testing positive for bacteria. At two weeks, the contamination in the irrigation bottle and fluid decreased to 26.7% and 20%, respectively. The most common bacteria cultured was Pseudomonas aeruginosa. There were no cases of postoperative infection.

Conclusion:

Despite detailed cleaning instructions, there is a relatively high risk of bacterial contamination in nasal irrigation bottles and fluid following endoscopic sinus surgery. Although these risks did not translate into higher infection rates postsurgery, it may be important for physicians to emphasize regular cleaning techniques to minimize a potential source of bacterial contaminant exposure.
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Keywords: Chronic sinusitis; cleaning; contamination; endoscopic sinus surgery; irrigation bottle; postoperative care; saline nasal irrigation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Toronto, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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