Condition category
Infections and Infestations
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Prospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Infections are a serious complication of major surgery, especially when this involves implantation of artificial devices such as knee or hip joints. Orthopaedic surgery is one of the most common types of surgery in which artificial devices such as joint replacements are used. A common type of infection is from a bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). A resistant sub-type of this bacteria type is MRSA, which is well known to cause major problems because it is resistant to many antibiotics. About 30% of healthy people have S. aureus in their nose, and sometimes on other parts of their body. Some infections occurring after surgery may result from bacteria on a patients’ own body spreading, and there is evidence that S. aureus spreading from sites such as the nose are important. At present, if MRSA is detected on a patient before they undergo surgery an eradication treatment regimen is routinely used, but this is not the case for other forms of S. aureus. It is quite difficult to effectively eradicate these bacteria before surgery, and the treatments required are quite inconvenient to patients. They involve applying ointment to the nose for 5 days, washing the body with antiseptics, gargling with an antiseptic mouthwash and changing bedsheets. A new treatment currently being investigated for the eradication of S. aureus in patients prior to surgery is one which uses a LASER. The treatment focuses a LASER on the area in the nose where S. aureus is typically found, and results suggest that it can increase the effectiveness of current eradication treatments. The LASER works by increasing the susceptibility of the bacteria to the existing treatments, making them more effective. The results of completed studies suggest the treatment is effective and safe, but large studies have not yet been carried out. The aim of this study is to see how efficient the current standard treatment is for patients prior to undergoing orthopaedic surgery, which doesn’t use the LASER. This study also aims to test the protocol that would be used for enrolling patients, treating them, and taking the samples needed in a trial of the LASER therapy. This study will not use the LASER. The results of this study will be used in future studies which will evaluate how effective the LASER is when added to the treatments currently used in NHS hospitals to treat S. aureus in the nose before surgery.

Who can participate?
Adults scheduled for elective implant surgery that are found to be colonised with S. aureus.

What does the study involve?
All participants colonised with S. aureus are given the current eradication treatment currently recommended in national guidelines. Participants are asked to carry out a 5-day home treatment regimen which includes using a nasal ointment, gargle mouthwash and a soap/shampoo substitute before they have orthopaedic implant surgery.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
There may be potential benefits as patients on the study are screened and treated for MRSA and MSSA, current policy in NHS Scotland is to screen and treat for MRSA only. There is some evidence that eradicating MSSA in addition to MRSA prior to surgery reduces the risk of infection before surgery. There are no perceived risks for patients participating in this study.

Where is the study run from?
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (UK)

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
June 2015 to June 2016

Who is funding the study?
Selex ES

Who is the main contact?
1. Prof T Walsh (scientific)
2. Prof H Simpson (scientific)
3. Dr J Boyd (public)

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Prof Timothy Walsh


Contact details

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Department of Critical Care
Little France Crescent
EH16 2SA
United Kingdom
+44 (0)131 242 6395



Additional contact

Prof Hamish Simpson


Contact details

SU 303 Chancellor's Building
49 Little France Crescent
EH16 4SB
United Kingdom
+44 (0)131 242 6644



Additional contact

Dr Julia Boyd


Contact details

Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit
Western General Hospital
Crewe Road
United Kingdom
+44 (0)131 537 3842

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number

Protocol version 3.2, 14 August 2015

Study information

Scientific title

Laser Assisted Staphylococcal ERadication prior to elective orthopaedic implantation surgery (LASER study): pilot study phase I



Study hypothesis

This is a feasibility study. We want to measure how common Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) colonisation is in patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery and how efficient the current treatment is for S. aureus eradication. We also want to test the protocol we would use for enrolling patients, treating them, and taking the samples needed in a future trial involving LASER therapy as an adjunct to clearing S aureus colonisation prior to surgery.

Ethics approval

Ethics Committee South East Scotland REC 02, 12/06/2015, ref: 15/SS/0091.

Study design

Prospective single-centre non-blinded feasibility study

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Case series

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet.


Orthopaedic patients presenting for elective implant surgery that are colonised with S. aureus.


All participants colonised with S. aureus will receive the decolonisation regimen currently recommended and used for MRSA eradication in NHS Lothian and recommended in national guidelines. A pack will be provided that includes day-by-day instructions for a 5-day treatment. This comprises:
1. Nose: Mupirocin 2% nasal ointment applied to the inner surface of each nostril (anterior nares) three times daily for 5 days. The participant should be able to taste mupirocin at the back of the throat after application.
2. Throat: Gargle mouthwash and oral hygiene with chlorhexidine gluconate 0.2% mouthwash solution twice daily for 5 days.
3. Body: Chlorhexidine gluconate 4% (Hibiscrub) solution as soap/shampoo substitute once daily for 5 days. Chlorhexidine solution must be kept in contact with the skin for at least 30 seconds and should be used as a shampoo at least twice in the 5 day period. An emollient and/or hair conditioner may be used if skin drying occurs. The skin should be moistened and the antiseptic solution applied thoroughly to all parts of the skin before rinsing in a bath or shower. Do not dilute in bath water as the concentration would be insufficient. A disposable sponge or flannel should be used to apply the antiseptic solution.

Intervention type



Phase I

Drug names

1. Mupirocin
2. Chlorhexidine

Primary outcome measures

Proportion of participants positive for nasal S. aureus 48-96 hours post eradication regimen as determined by microbial analysis.

Secondary outcome measures

1. Consent rates as proportion of eligible patients
2. Recruitment rates
3. Protocol compliance rates
Clinical outcomes:
1. Clearance rates of S. aureus from all 3 sampled sites at 48-96 hours after completing current eradication regimens
2. Clearance rates of S. aureus from all 3 sampled sites at hospital admission (pre-surgery) after completing current eradication regimens
3. Clearance rates of S. aureus from all 3 sampled sites at hospital discharge (post-surgery) after completing current eradication regimens
4. Clearance rates of S. aureus from all 3 sampled sites at 6 weeks follow-up after surgery after completing current eradication regimens
5. Adverse event and serious adverse event rates
6. Rate of HAIs at 6 weeks post-surgery
7. Hospital length of stay; 6 week follow-up measures
8. Rates of mupirocin resistance at baseline
9. Rates of biofilm forming S. aureus at baseline

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned


Participant inclusion criteria

1. Patient is scheduled for elective implant surgery
2. Patient is attending pre-operative assessment clinic within 8-21 days of planned surgery
3. Patient has confirmed nasal colonisation with S. aureus (MSSA or MRSA) after pre-operative assessment using a rapid PCR test for MRSA and MSSA

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

1. Patient with allergy or other contraindication to mupirocin or chlorhexidine treatment
2. Patient known to have mupirocin or chlorhexidine resistant SA
3. Patient unable to wait the 3-4 hours for the SA screening result
4. Patients in whom microbiological treatment for SA other than decolonisation is planned prior to hospital admission for surgery
5. Patients receiving antibiotics in the last 2 weeks or planned to receive antibiotics prior to surgery (excluding routine peri-operative antibiotic prophylaxis)
6. Patient scheduled to receive joint revision surgery due to infection
7. Patient lives too far from the hospital to be followed-up for microbiological sampling
8. Patient aged <16 years
9. Pregnancy or breast feeding
10. No informed consent

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
51 Little France Crescent
EH16 4SA
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


University of Edinburgh

Sponsor details

ACCORD - R&D Management Suite
The Queen's Medical Research Institute
Little France Crescent
EH16 4TJ
United Kingdom
+44 (0)131 242 3325

Sponsor type




NHS Lothian

Sponsor details

The Queen's Medical Research Institute
Little France Crescent
EH16 4TJ
United Kingdom
+44 (0)131 242 3359

Sponsor type

Hospital/treatment centre



Funder type


Funder name

Selex ES

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

The results will be published in a medical journal.

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Results - basic reporting

Publication summary

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes