Industry News

New Coating to Reduce Catheter-associated Pain and Risk of Infection

Published on 2020-03-19. Author : SpecialChem

Researchers from the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s University Belfast have developed a new antimicrobial coating which can be applied to urinary catheters and other medical devices to significantly reduce pain and lower the risk of infection for its users. This unique coating has the potential to greatly improve the quality of life for the millions of catheter users worldwide.


Coating with Antimicrobial Properties

The coating was created using a unique mix of polymers which ensures it is low friction to reduce the pain and discomfort of catheterization, as well as containing antimicrobial properties which protects the user from harmful microbes that can cause disease and, in some cases, even death.

UTIs associated with catheter use are one of the most common types of infection that affect people staying in hospital. This risk is particularly high if the catheter is left in place continuously (an indwelling catheter) with approximately 50% of all long-term catheterized patients experiencing recurrent episodes of catheter infections and blockages.

Dr Nicola Irwin said, “Patients with poor control over their bladder function, for example those with urinary retention or drainage problems caused by neurological conditions such as spina bifida or spinal cord injuries may need catheterized up to eight times a day.

Insertion and removal of poorly lubricated catheters causes friction between the urethral walls and the device surface, which is not only extremely painful for the patient, but upon regular use can lead to damage and narrowing of the urethra, bleeding and infection.”

As well as being extremely painful, these low-level infections, overtime, can cause antibiotic resistance in these users.

Professor Colin McCoy explains, “People who use medical devices such as catheters on a daily basis are at high risk of persistent low-level infections, which, overtime, can cause antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is one the biggest global threats to society today and leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased risk of infection and even death.

It is vitally important we provide an alternative to the currently used devices, which have not changed much since their introduction almost 100 years ago despite their widespread clinical and many associated limitations.”

Source: Queen’s University Belfast
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