Volume 3, 2017
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Published online||30 January 2017|
Irrigation solutions in open fractures of the lower extremities: evaluation of isotonic saline and distilled water
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Trauma, Ondo State Trauma and Surgical Centre, Medical Village, Laje Road, Ondo State, Nigeria, West Africa
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 12 July 2016
Introduction: Open fractures are widely considered as orthopaedic emergencies requiring immediate intervention. The initial management of these injuries usually affects the ultimate outcome because open fractures may be associated with significant morbidity. Wound irrigation forms one of the pivotal principles in the treatment of open fractures. The choice of irrigation fluid has since been a source of debate. This study aimed to evaluate and compare the effects of isotonic saline and distilled water as irrigation solutions in the management of open fractures of the lower extremities. Wound infection and wound healing rates using both solutions were evaluated.
Methods: This was a prospective hospital-based study of 109 patients who presented to the Accident and Emergency department with open lower limb fractures. Approval was sought and obtained from the Ethics Committee of the Hospital. Patients were randomized into either the isotonic saline (NS) or the distilled water (DW) group using a simple ballot technique. Twelve patients were lost to follow-up, while 97 patients were available until conclusion of the study. There were 50 patients in the isotonic saline group and 47 patients in the distilled water group.
Results: Forty-one (42.3%) of the patients were in the young and economically productive strata of the population. There was a male preponderance with a 1.7:1 male-to-female ratio. The wound infection rate was 34% in the distilled water group and 44% in the isotonic saline group (p = 0.315). The mean time ± SD to wound healing was 2.7 ± 1.5 weeks in the distilled water group and 3.1 ± 1.8 weeks in the isotonic saline group (p = 0.389).
Conclusions: It was concluded from this study that the use of distilled water compares favourably with isotonic saline as an irrigation solution in open fractures of the lower extremities.
Key words: Open fractures / Irrigation / Distilled water / Saline
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2017
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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