Coated Catheter Decreases Infections and Clots


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— Catheters are one of the most commonly used medical devices in the country with five million central venous catheters and more than 30 million urinary catheters used each year. They are also the cause of most healthcare-acquired bloodstream infections. Now, a team of researchers are looking to reduce patients’ risk with a coated catheter.

Chances are if you’ve been hospitalized, you had one of these. Catheters are life-sustaining medical devices that are used to take out or deliver fluids from the body, but …

“They also have really high rates of these infection and clotting issues,” explained Elizabeth Brisbois, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida.

(Read Full Interview)

In the United States, there are about 80,000 catheter-related bloodstream infections each year. This results in as many as 28,000 thousand deaths and two billion dollars in increased healthcare costs.

“The infection can also travel inside the body of the patient and cause other diseases,” illustrated Manjyot Kaur Chug, a graduate student at the University of Central Florida.

“Most of the medical devices that are on the market only deal with one of these problems at a time,” Professor Brisbois elaborated.

But not both. That is why researchers at the University of Central Florida are developing a coated catheter that can reduce the risk of infections and blood clots. One of the key components is nitric oxide, a compound that is already present in the body.

“Our immune system also produces nitric oxide to kill bacteria. If they mimic the nitric oxide production that our body does, then we can also kill bacteria that might be growing on our catheters,” clarified Brisbois.

The nitric oxide can prevent blood clots from forming on the coated catheter as well.

“It’s important for the catheter to mimic what is already there in our body,” noted Kaur Chug.

To reduce risk and save lives.

The team says this nitric oxide coating material can eventually also be applied to other medical devices, such as bypass or dialysis machines, devices that have a lot of clotting problems.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Milvionne Chery, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer & Editor.

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CATHETERS: A catheter is a thin, flexible tube that puts fluids into your body or takes them out. If you have trouble urinating or can’t control when you urinate, a urinary catheter that goes into your bladder can get rid of urine for you. If you need blood or medicine, your doctor might use an intravenous catheter that’s connected to one of your veins with a needle. There are many polymers that are used for the construction of catheters, including silicone rubber, nylon, polyurethane, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), latex, and thermoplastic elastomers. Silicone is a common implantable choice because it is inert and unreactive to body fluids and a range of medical fluids with which it might come into contact. On the other hand, silicone is weak mechanically, and several serious fractures have occurred in catheters. Polyimides are used to manufacture vascular catheters for insertion into small vessels in the neck, head, and brain. There are many different types of catheters for bladder problems. An intermittent catheter is made from polyurethane and comes in different lengths and sizes for men, women and children. The most advanced catheters have a thin hydrophilic surface coating. When immersed in water this coating swells to a smooth, slippery film making the catheter safer and more comfortable to insert. Some catheters are packed in a sterile saline solution.


CATHETERS CAUSE INFECTIONS AND BLOOD CLOTS: These are the most common problems with catheters. Catheter-related bloodstream infections result in as many as 28,000 deaths and more than $2 billion in increased healthcare costs in the U.S. each year. The catheter may let germs into your body, where they can cause an infection of your bladder, urethra, urinary tract, or kidneys. Peripherally inserted central catheters are common for IV delivery of antibiotics, nutrition, chemotherapy, and other medications. But these catheters more than double the risk of dangerous blood clots especially among patients who are critically ill or who have cancer. Catheter-acquired urinary tract infections (UTI) are one of the most common healthcare acquired infections. The odds of acquiring a bacterium while a catheter remains in is three to seven percent each day. Infection in individuals with a urinary indwelling catheter is usually a result of biofilm formation along the catheter. The least common ways for acquisition of bacteria include the introduction of bacteria directly into the bladder at the time of catheter insertion, reflux of infected urine from the drainage bag or tubing into the bladder because of inappropriate catheter management.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: A University of Central Florida researcher is helping develop a new coating material for catheters and other medical devices that resists infections, blood clots and biofilms. Current commercial catheters have coatings that either reduce the risk of bacterial infection or prevent blood clots, but not both. The UCF-developed material is planned to be multifunctional so that it can resist both infections and blood clots, as well as stop biofilms, or the accumulation of bacteria or organic matter that can spread disease. Elizabeth Brisbois an Assistant Professor in UCF’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the principal investigator of the research says “The ultimate goal of this project is to develop new intravascular catheter materials that can simultaneously prevent clotting and eradicate microbial infections,” she says. “If these materials are successful, they could also have significant benefits for other blood-contacting devices beyond catheters, such as complex extracorporeal life support, hemodialysis, vascular grafts and more.”





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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Elizabeth Brisbois, PhD, an assistant professor

Read the entire Q&A