Nano- BaSO4: A Novel Antimicrobial Additive to Pellethane Medical Polymers

Abstract

Each year there are approximately 2 million hospital acquired infections, 90,000 of which are fatal. More than half of these infections can be attributed to contamination of life sustaining medical devices such as endotracheal tubes, bladder catheters, central venous catheters, as well as other medical implants. In the US approximately 28,000 patients die each year due to catheter-related bloodstream infections. Each blood infection can cost the healthcare system more than $35,000 per case, with a resulting total potential burden of $35 Billion on the healthcare system. There is a great need to develop more efficient antimicrobial and bacteriastatic products. The main challenge is to prevent bacteria adhesion and proliferation early before biofilm productions takes place, once the bacterial biofilm matrix is forms the bacterial infection can become profoundly more resistant to the host defenses as well as antibiotic treatment. Barium sulfate (BaSO4) is a common agent used to make medical tubings radiopaque; however, BaSO4 polymeric formulations have also been shown to exhibit antimicrobial activity. Additional studies have shown that the use of nano structures on surfaces can lead to surfaces that were antimicrobial or resistant to bacterial proliferation. æThis study seeks to understand how incorporating nano-BaSO4 into pellethane composites affects the physical properties and antimicrobial nature of the resulting polymers. The goal is to create cost-effective antimicrobial medical tubes. The results of this study showed that the incorporation of nano-BaSO4 into pellethane polymers yielded polymers which had enhanced antimicrobial properties, yet had similar hydrodynamic properties and were still radiopaque.