Tags: smart | catheter | infeciton

'Smart Catheters' Outsmart Infections

Monday, 27 August 2012 12:19 AM

A new "smart catheter" that detects the start of an infection, and automatically releases an anti-bacterial substance, is being developed to combat blood and urinary tract infections in hospitals and other clinical settings.

University of Michigan scientists, who detailed progress being made on what they call "electromodulated smart catheters" at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, noted bacterial infections can start on the surface of the soft, flexible tubes inserted into blood vessels to deliver medication and into the urinary tract of patients to drain urine.

About 30 million urinary catheters are used each year, and healthcare facilities are exploring ways to reduce the rate of infections tied to their use that can pose significant dangers to ill, frail and older patients.

"About 1.5 million healthcare-associated infections are reported in the United States alone each year, resulting in 99,000 deaths and up to $45 billion in extra health care costs," said Dipankar Koley, who delivered the report. "Urinary tract infections, as one example, are the most common source of institutionally acquired infections in both acute care hospitals and long-term care facilities. Our smart catheter is being developed in response to that need."

Infection-fighting catheters already are available that release antibiotic substances, Koley noted. These are "unintelligent catheters," however, releasing the substances continuously. The new smart catheter senses the start of an infection, and only then releases its antibiotic substance, which is nitric oxide (NO). In lab experiments lasting seven days, test catheters have continued to release NO, and Koley and colleagues believe that can be extended to weeks.

© HealthDay

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Scientists are developing a 'smart catheter' that detects the start of an infection and automatically releases an anti-bacterial substance.
Monday, 27 August 2012 12:19 AM
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