Inside the program: The battle with biofilms

HCPro's Weekly Update on the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®*, March 29, 2010

Indwelling urinary catheters provide an ideal location for the formation of a biofilm. A biofilm is a slimy, polysaccharide coating that adheres to the surfaces of the indwelling catheter. The biofilm can form on the retention balloon, the external surface of the catheter lying within the bladder, the internal lumen of the catheter, and the drainage eyes.

A biofilm is a remarkably complex structure; it is formed by the bacteria themselves, and it develops a primitive circulatory system that delivers nutrients to the bacteria within its structure and removes waste products. In the presence of a biofilm, bacteria move from a planktonic state, where they are susceptible to annihilation by an antibiotic, to a sessile state, where they become resistant to destruction by antibiotic drugs. In most cases, colonization of a catheterized lower urinary tract leads to biofilm formation without producing signs and symptoms of a UTI. This condition is clinically referred to as asymptomatic bacteriuria.

Source: Preventing Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections: Build an Evidence-Based Program To Improve Patient Outcomes

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