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Summary

Chlorhexidine contamination of equipment used in central neuraxial anaesthesia has been implicated in causing adhesive arachnoiditis. We measured the extent of chlorhexidine splash during pouring into a gallipot (antiseptic skin preparation container) from heights of 5 cm, 10 cm, 15 cm and 20 cm. Twenty experiments were performed at each height. Measurements made up to a horizontal distance of 40 cm radius from the gallipot showed a median (IQR [range]) maximum spread of splash droplets ≥ 2 mm diameter of 26.2 (10.2–36.4 [0–40]) cm. The 40-cm radius measurement area was divided into 5-cm-wide zones to assess spread. At pouring heights of 15 cm and 20 cm, all zones were contaminated. These results demonstrate that pouring chlorhexidine into a gallipot generates significant splash, and we recommend that this should be avoided near equipment used for neuraxial anaesthesia.