The Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust has initiated the first UK pilot evaluation of nasal photodisinfection for preventing surgical site infections at Pontefract Hospital. Over a six-month period, 500 elective hip and knee surgery patients will undergo nasal decolonisation using Ondine Biomedical’s Steriwave® prior to their operations.

Steriwave has already proven its effectiveness in several Canadian hospitals, such as Vancouver General Hospital and The Ottawa Hospital. It has shown significant improvements in post-surgical outcomes, including reduced infection rates, shorter patient hospital stays, fewer readmissions, and a decrease in antibiotic prescriptions.

Dr Stuart Bond, Consultant Antimicrobial Pharmacist & Director of Innovation at Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust commented: “We are very pleased to be the first NHS Trust in the UK to pilot this exciting, non-antibiotic method of preventing infections after surgery. Although infections after hip and knee surgeries are rare, we know that they lengthen patients’ stay in hospital, complicate the recovery process, and cause significant pain and suffering. We look forward to sharing the results of the Steriwave pilot in due course.”

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) recommends nasal decolonisation to eradicate pathogens like MRSA from a patient’s nasal cavities, as they are major contributors to surgical site infections. An individual with a surgical site infection typically spends an additional 7 to 11 days in the hospital, leading to increased costs and longer recovery times. Nasal mupirocin, an antibiotic, is traditionally used for nasal decolonisation; however, concerns regarding its high antimicrobial resistance rates, reaching up to 81%, have raised serious issues.

Nasal photodisinfection offers a non-antibiotic alternative for nasal decolonisation. It employs a specialised light-activated agent to destroy pathogens. The process involves applying the agent to each nostril using a nasal swab and then illuminating the area with a specific wavelength of light. The light activates the photodynamic agent, triggering an oxidative burst that effectively eliminates infection-causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi within the nose. This quick and single 5-minute treatment with Steriwave ensures the eradication of harmful pathogens.