Long-Term Prevention of Catheter Infections Using Chemical Coatings
Urinary tract infections caused by indwelling catheters (CAUTIs) employed for the treatment of urinary flow are very common. Almost 100 million of these devices are sold on an annual basis with around 25% of these being marketed in the USA. In addition to the cost of catheters and their insertion, hospital treatment of CAUITs runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars every year. The infections are caused by adherence of bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus aureus with attendant formation of a biofilm to the surface of polymeric materials used for fabrication of the device. Left untreated, these infections can lead to death. Over several years many attempts have been made to produce anti-microbial surfaces to prevent bacterial adhesion with very limited success. The present MITACS application for funding is designed to build on dramatic preliminary results achieved with regard to the complete prevention of bacterial adhesion via use of ultra-thin surface modification of polymers conventionally used for catheter fabrication. This sub-nanometer modification reduces adherence and biofilm formation by over 90%, and is highly stable to conventional sterilization protocols.