Shark-finned catheters may prevent urinary tract infections

Photo of author

By Creative Media News

  • Catheter with shark-fin spikes may reduce UTIs
  • Spikes prevent bacteria ascent in urinary tract
  • Prototype shows promising results; clinical trials pending

If catheter-assisted patients might be less susceptible to urinary tract infections if they were affixed with minute spikes resembling shark fins.

These pliable, hollow plastic tubes facilitate the drainage of urine from the bladder into a receptacle for hospitalized patients confined to their beds who are unable to access the lavatory. They also serve the purpose of monitoring a patient’s urine excretion and preventing excessive bladder swelling during an operation.

Nevertheless, the prolonged presence of a catheter increases the likelihood of developing a urinary tract infection.

Thousands of minute spikes, which are imperceptible to the unaided eye, adorn the interior of the new catheters; each spike also points in the opposite direction (away from the tube’s exit from the body). 

This phenomenon creates an obstacle course that makes pathogenic bacteria’s ascent through the catheter and into the urinary tract or bladder virtually impossible.

Urine subsequently removes the bacteria that have become entangled in the spikes.

An estimated one in every five inpatients at an NHS hospital requires a urinary catheter. There are an estimated 90,000 residents in the community who also possess them.

Severe benign prostatic hyperplasia, a condition characterized by an enlarged prostate that puts pressure on the urethra, the conduit for urination and expulsion, affects many males.

Urinary retention may result; in severe instances, urine may accumulate in the kidneys, leading to chronic renal impairment. Men frequently leave catheters in place for several months while undergoing prostate reduction surgery to prevent this.

Public Health England scientists determined in a 2019 study that NHS hospitals experience approximately 50,000 catheter-induced urinary tract infections annually. Treatment of these conditions costs the NHS approximately £200 million annually.

“Invest in your future with Webull UK – get started with free shares.”

After entering a catheter, insects produce a slimy film that ascends the lining and eventually reaches the urinary tract and bladder, regions characterized by a damp environment that is conducive to bacterial growth.

Catheters frequently contain antibiotics or metals like silver to eliminate microorganisms. Nevertheless, an increasing quantity of bacteria are acquiring resistance to antibiotics.

The California Institute of Technology in the United States created the shark-fin spikes by using an artificial intelligence computer program to determine the most effective surface for preventing the proliferation of microbes.

Following simulations of the effects of various surface textures, the AI software determined that spikes resembling shark fins would be the optimal solution.

The researchers constructed a prototype using a 3D printer and evaluated it using liquid containing E. coli bacteria, the most prevalent pathogen associated with catheter-associated infections.

The findings, which were published in the most recent issue of Applied Sciences, demonstrated that the accumulation of bacteria on the catheter lining during a twenty-four-hour duration was below 1% of the typical accumulation observed in standard catheters lacking specialized linings. Clinical trials are about to commence.

Professor of urology at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Chris Eden, applauded the results but cautioned that the movement of certain pathogenic bacteria in a catheter may differ marginally from that of the E. coli that the researchers examined. This is an exciting breakthrough, but it may not work for all bacteria known to colonize catheters,” he told Good Health.

Read More

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content