Polymer designs to control biofilm growth on medical devices

I. Francolini, G. Donelli, P. Stoodley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Indwelling and temporary medical delivery devices (i.e. catheters) are increasingly used in hospital settings, providing clinicians with useful tools to administer nutrients, draw blood samples and deliver drugs. However, they can often put patients at risk for local or systemic infections, including bloodstream infections and endocarditis. Microorganisms readily adhere to the surfaces and colonize them by forming a slimy layer of biofilm. Bacteria growing in biofilms exhibit an increased antibiotic resistance in comparison with planktonic cells. Consequently the antibiotic treatment of these medical device-associated infections frequently fails. Detechment resulting in the formation of microemboli is a further biofilm related complication. Since infections often involve increased morbidity and morality, prolonged hospitalization and additional medical costs, various strategies to prevent biofilm formation on implanted medical devices have been developed over the last two decades. In this paper we review and discuss the most significant experimental approaches to inhibit bacterial adhesion and growth on these devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-319
Number of pages13
JournalReviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology
Issue number2-4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • Anti-infective biomaterials
  • Antimicrobials
  • Biofilm
  • Catheters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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