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November 1951


Author Affiliations

Dr. Heider is now on active duty with the Air Force.; From the Surgical Service of the Veterans Hospital and the Creighton University School of Medicine.

AMA Arch Surg. 1951;63(5):641-646. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1951.01250040655011

THE USE of benzalkonium (zephiran®) chloride (alkylbenzyldimethyl-ammonium chloride) as an antiseptic and germicide is based on confirmed laboratory and clinical evidence.1 Its greatest field of usefulness has been as a skin disinfectant to prepare both the patient's skin for an incision and the surgeon's hands for an operation. It has been recommended for use in the vagina in preparation for an operation and in the bladder as an irrigating agent. We have used it extensively as a skin disinfectant as well as a means of preparing the mouth for oral surgery. In all these instances, if a 1: 1,000 solution is used, reactions to the chemical are practically nonexistent.

We have further discovered that the detergent and germicidal properties of zephiran® make it desirable for use in hand basins during an operation. However, the concept of transferring the nonirritating and nontoxic properties of zephiran® on the skin to serosal

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