It is well documented that medical device-related infections and complications are associated with increased morbidity and mortality, prolonged hospitalisation, patient discomfort and increased medical costs. Implanted medical devices can be susceptible to bacterial adhesion and colonisation on their surface, as well as thrombus formation and prion or other blood protein adhesion. Progress in the area of anti-microbial treatment of devices has been of limited success - novel strategies are required to reduce infection rates in areas such as urinary catheter implants, open fractures, and joint prostheses.
A research team at the University of Dundee have developed multiple novel nanocomposite coating strategies for medical devices, to effectively overcome the issues of bacterial adhesion and colonisation, thrombus, and prion adhesion. Based on the extended DVLO theory - which explains the interactions involved in bacterial adhesion – the scientists have essentially developed “non-stick” coatings for devices which do not have the correct surface energy properties for bacteria, prions or blood proteins to stick to.
The coatings have been found to be extremely effective at reducing infection rates by up to 98%, as well as preventing platelet adhesion, thrombus formation and prion protein contamination.