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Review: wound cleansing with water does not differ from no cleansing or cleansing with other solutions for rates of wound infection or healing

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QUESTION: In patients with acute or chronic wounds, is wound cleansing with water (tap, cool boiled, or distilled) more effective than no cleansing, or wound cleansing with sterile normal saline or any other solution for reducing infection and improving healing?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching the Cochrane Wounds Group Specialised Trials Register, Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register. Bibliographies of relevant articles were reviewed. Primary authors, experts, and company representatives in the field of wound care were contacted for further studies.

Study selection

Studies published in any language were selected if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-randomised controlled trials (QRCTs) comparing wound cleansing using water (tap, cool boiled, or distilled) with no cleansing or wound cleansing using sterile normal saline or any other solution in patients of all ages with wounds of any aetiology, in any …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Ms R Fernandez, Centre for Applied Nursing Research, Liverpool BC, New South Wales, Australia. ritin.fernandez{at}