Podcast 719: Normal Saline vs. Tap Water for Wound Irrigation - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 719: Normal Saline vs. Tap Water for Wound Irrigation

Contributor: Ricky Dhaliwal, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Multiple RCTs and a Cochrane Review found there is no difference in wound infection rates when irrigating with tap water 
  • Pressure of the water and how extensively the wound is irrigated were the most important factors affecting infection rates
  • Quantity and type of water were independently not as important


Fernandez R, Griffiths R. Water for wound cleansing. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;(2):CD003861. Published 2012 Feb 15. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003861.pub3

Lewis K, Pay JL. Wound Irrigation. [Updated 2021 Jun 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538522/

Summarized by John Spartz, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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