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Irrigation of simple lacerations with tap water or sterile saline in the emergency department did not differ for wound infections

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In patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with simple lacerations, is wound irrigation with tap water equivalent to irrigation with sterile saline for wound infections?

Moscati RM, Mayrose J, Reardon RF, et al. A multicenter comparison of tap water versus sterile saline for wound irrigation. Acad Emerg Med 2007;14:404–9.

Clinical impact ratings GP/FP/Primary care ★★★★★★⋆ IM/Ambulatory care ★★★★★★★ Cardiology ★★★★★★⋆ Endocrine ★★★★★★⋆


Embedded ImageDesign:

randomised controlled trial.

Embedded ImageAllocation:


Embedded ImageBlinding:

blinded (outcome assessors).

Embedded ImageFollow-up period:

5–14 days after wound closure.

Embedded ImageSetting:

2 urban trauma centres and 1 suburban community hospital in the US.

Embedded ImagePatients:

713 patients >17 years of age who presented to the ED with acute uncomplicated skin lacerations requiring staples or sutures. Exclusion criteria were puncture or bite wounds; self-inflicted wounds; grossly contaminated wounds; wounds >8 hours old; wounds involving tendon, joint, or bone; diabetes; significant peripheral vascular …

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  • Sources of funding: in part, Federal Highway Administration through the Center for Transportation Injury Research and Calspan University at Buffalo Research Center.