Skip to main content

Review of Clinical Trials of Skin Antiseptic Agents Used to Reduce Blood Culture Contamination

  • Anurag Malani (a1) (a2) (a3), Kim Trimble (a2), Vikas Parekh (a2), Carol Chenoweth (a1) (a2), Samuel Kaufman (a4) (a2) and Sanjay Saint (a5) (a4) (a2) (a3)...

False-positive blood culture results may lead to prolonged hospitalization, inappropriate antibiotic administration, and increased healthcare costs. We conducted a review of the literature to assess the effect of skin antiseptic agents on the rate of false-positive blood culture Results. We found no clear evidence to suggest which antiseptic should be used to prevent false-positive Results. Studies suggest, however, a possible benefit from the use of prepackaged skin antiseptic kits and alcohol-containing antiseptics.

Corresponding author
Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, 2215 Fuller Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105 (
Hide All
1.Weinstein MP. Blood culture contamination: persisting problems and partial progress. J Clin Microbiol 2003;41:22752278.
2.Bates DW, Goldman L, Lee TH. Contaminant blood cultures and resource utilization: the true consequences of false-positive Results. JAMA 1991;265:365369.
3.Little JR, Murray PR, Traynor PS, Spitznagel E. A randomized trial of povidone-iodine compared with iodine tincture for venipuncture site disinfection: effects on rates of blood culture contamination. Am J Med 1999;107:119125.
4.Surdulescu S, Utamsingh D, Shekar R. Phlebotomy teams reduce blood-culture contamination rate and save money. Clin Perform Qual Health Care 1998;6:6062.
5.Washington JA II, Ilstrup DM. Blood cultures: issues and controversies. Rev Infect Dis 1986;8:792802.
6.Calfee DP, Farr BM. Comparison of four antiseptic preparations for skin in the prevention of contamination of percutaneously drawn blood cultures: a randomized trial. J Clin Microbiol 2002;40:16601665.
7.Mimoz O, Karim A, Mercat A, et al.Chlorhexidine compared with povidone-iodine as skin preparation before blood culture: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med 1999;131:834837.
8.Trautner BW, Clarridge IE, Darouiche RO. Skin antisepsis kits containing alcohol and Chlorhexidine gluconate or tincture of iodine are associated with low rates of blood culture contamination. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2002;23:397401.
9.Strand CL, Wajsbort RR, Sturmann K. Effect of iodophor vs iodine tincture skin preparation on blood culture contamination rate. JAMA 1993;269:10041006.
10.Weinbaum FI, Lavie S, Danek M, Sixsmith D, Heinrich GF, Mills SS. Doing it right the first time: quality improvement and the contaminant blood culture. J Clin Microbiol 1997;35:563565.
11.King TC, Price PB. An evaluation of iodophors as skin antiseptics. Surg Gynecol Obstet 1963;116:361365.
12.Champagne S, Fussell S, Scheifele D. Evaluation of skin antisepsis prior to blood culture in neonates. Infect Control 1984;5:489491.
13.Lee S, Schoen I, Malkin A. Comparison of use of alcohol with that of iodine for skin antisepsis in obtaining blood cultures. Am J Clin Pathol 1967;47:646648.
14.Shahar E, Wohl-Gottesman BS, Shenkman L. Contamination of blood cultures during venepuncture: fact or myth? Postgrad Med J 1990;66:10531058.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0899-823X
  • EISSN: 1559-6834
  • URL: /core/journals/infection-control-and-hospital-epidemiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 4 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 212 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd February 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.