Clinical trial finds copper-infused products reduce hospital-acquired infections

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NORFOLK, Va. – Hard surfaces and linens infused with copper compounds used in patient rooms significantly reduce hospital-acquired diseases, according to a clinical trial conducted by Sentara Healthcare.

The trial, conducted over ten months at Sentara Leigh Hospital, showed an 83 percent reduction in C-difficile and a 78% overall reduction in multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs) including C-diff, MRSA and VRE in a clinical environment.

“Our experiment with copper products and the clinical trial just published reflects the Sentara commitment to innovation,” says Howard P. Kern, president and CEO of Sentara Healthcare.  “We are relentless in the pursuit of improved clinical outcomes and an exceptional patient experience and these copper products are helping us achieve both of those goals.”

Cupron, Inc., a Richmond-based company, invented the copper oxide technology used in surfaces and textiles and Norfolk-based EOS Surfaces, LLC. developed unique copper oxide-impregnated hard surfaces, including bathroom sinks, bedside tables and bedrails.

The copper items were installed in 124 patient rooms in the East Tower at Sentara Leigh.

“We sanitize or terminal clean patient rooms every day, but that leaves 23-and-a-half hours for bacteria to proliferate,” said Burke. “Copper keeps killing bacteria around the clock and our clinical trial demonstrates that copper-infused products can be a practical, affordable solution to augment disinfection protocols.”

Sentara will add copper-infused hard products like bedside tables and bed rails in all patient rooms in all 12 Sentara hospitals.

“I firmly believe it won’t take that many avoided infections before we’re on the right side of the ledger here,” says Robert Broermann, Chief Financial Officer of Sentara Healthcare. “It’s not every day you see these kinds of opportunities to improve patient safety and clinical quality at a relatively modest investment level that stand a good chance of generating a positive return on investment.”