Medical Device Daily National Editor

It's a truism that the simplest things in life often are the best.

That seems to apply insofar as Kimberly-Clark Health Care's (K-C; Roswell, Georgia) latest product, InteguSeal Microbial Sealant, is concerned.

Featured at the K-C booth during the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS; Rosemont, Illinois) annual meeting in San Francisco earlier this month, InteguSeal is a microbial barrier whose intent is to reduce the risk of skin flora contamination during s surgical procedure.

One of the key attributes of the new product, beyond its ability to reduce the chances of a surgical-site infection, is that it's a logical fit with existing hospital procedures.

Dr. Charlotte Owens, medical director at K-C Health Care, told Medical Device Daily: "[InteguSeal] doesn't cause an extra burden on the operating-room staff," she said. "It goes along with the procedures already being followed."

She noted that the greatly heightened awareness of hospital-acquired infections in recent years has led to a "We're all in this together" shared sense of need. "The prevailing phrase for healthcare workers is 'Not on my watch.' We're all taking ownership on this issue," Owens said.

"For surgeons," she added, "this fits with their clinical practice. It (the InteguSeal application) comes immediately after the preparation of the surgical site. It's one less worry for the surgeon."

InteguSeal is a sealant that, as Kimberly-Clark puts it, "helps protect against skin flora migration into surgical incisions."

In appearance, it's not unlike the Clorox bleach pens found hanging on the racks near checkout stations in Wal-Mart, Target and supermarket chains nationwide. It's a little larger than those, but not so much that it would look out of place on one of those point-of-sale displays.

The single-use applicator delivers what the company calls "effective amounts of sealant, evenly covering [the] incision area in a single stroke."

So it's easy to apply, but the key, of course, is how it works.

"It's an immobilizer of bacteria," Owens said. "You want to keep [the surgical site] as clean as possible," she told MDD.

And the product does its work well beyond the immediacy of the surgical procedure. "It's still active afterward," she said. "InteguSeal stays active for up to five to seven days."

The product comes in two sizes, the IS100 for small-to-medium surgical sites (up to 10 x 10 inches) and the IS200 for larger areas (up to 10 x 20 inches).

It is, the company said, "quickly applied to any skin surface or contour," even in an unshaven area where a moderate amount of hair might be found. A single stroke of the applicstor by a surgical team member delivers what K-C terms "effective amounts of sealnt."

And the sealant has "breathable properties," permitting normal skin transpiration.

The fast-drying liquid which is applied bonds to the skin, "sealing and immobilizing areas where bacteria may grow," the company said.

It is effective against "common and dangerous skin pathogens," K-C said, "including MRSA, S. epidermidis and E. coli." In trials, it reduced the amount of MRSA recovered in a surgical incision model by 99.9%, S. epidermidis by 99.5% and E. coli by 96.6%.

Owens said InteguSeal represents "an opportunity for the surgical team to add an extra layer of protection, literally."

And it's a low-cost item that doesn't add significantly to the price tag on the procedure in question. "When you think what the additional cost is to a hospital of treating surgical-site infections, [the InteguSeal product] can have a tremendous impact."

With hospital stays increased by as much as sevenfold when a surgical-site infection is acquired, is likely to spend 60% more time in intensive care, is five times more likely to be readmitted within 30 days of discharge, and has a mortality rate that is two times higher, products aimed at preventing them carry an obvious appeal.

Kimberly-Clark Health Care, which characterizes itself as "a leader in infection protection devices," said InteguSeal "expands our platform." It added that in the healthcare industry overall, "we're really gaining ground" in dealing with hospital-acquired infections."

Joanne Bauer, president of the Kimberly-Clark Health Care business, said in a company statement, "The appropriate use of medical products during surgical procedures can help to prevent healthcare associated infections and ultimately lower costs incurred by facilities ... we are building on our strong portfolio of OR products and introducing new clinical solutions that help support our customers' healing mission."