Microbial sealant blocks infection during c-sections

By Karen Abernathy – bio | email

One in three expectant moms will deliver by c-section. And the last thing a new Mom needs to worry about is surgical site infections. Now, there's something new to keep moms infection-free.

Swapna Reddy is one of the first patients in the country to benefit from the therapy. Swapna and her husband are less than an hour away from one of the biggest events of their lives. They're expecting their second child.

"I'm very ready, I'm extremely ready," Reddy said. "I'm extremely tired of being pregnant. I'm tired of being this big."

Swapna's baby is one of three patients Gynecologist Jacques Moritz at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in ManhattanPlans to deliver on this day -- one traditionally, two by c-section.

"I deliver about 200 babies a year," Dr. Moritz said.

He said a major risk for new moms having a c-section is infection.

"A c-section is usually done at the worst possible time. The woman has been in labor, the vaginal bacteria have kind of gone up inside where we need to operate."

During surgery, bacteria can be transferred into the body from fluids, gloves, instruments, sponges or implants. Now doctors are using a new microbial sealant. It locks down bacteria on the skin.

"This sealant is basically crazy glue. Basically, it acts as a glue, and it seals the bacteria into the skin."

Before surgeons make the incision, they put the sealant on the skin. Doctors say it stops mrsa and e-coli.

"We seal in the bacteria on the skin so they don't move, so basically they don't crawl over to where we made the surgical incision."

Each year, 500,000 people get a surgical site infection, or SSI. Patients with an SSI remain in the hospital seven days longer and have a 60-percent increased risk of ending up in intensive care, and they're twice as likely to die.

Swapna is one of the first to use the sealant, and there's no sign of infection after the delivery for this mom. Now she can concentrate on keeping her family happy and healthy.

The sealant is currently approved for c-sections and naturally wears off within a couple of days. Doctors say it could soon be approved for some other types of surgeries as well.

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