Bacteria and the ensuing risk of infection is a significant concern for medical plastic components inserted into the body. Applications of greatest concern are those exposed to bodily fluid for extended periods of time, including but not limited to catheters, wound dressings, hospital bedding, surgical drapes, and hospital gowns.
For catheter or tube devices left in place for three or more days (i.e. in-dwelling), risk of infection is of particular concern. Handling and exposure of device corporal end can influence time of onset and severity of infection. Infection occurs at incision where catheter enters blood vessel, where bacteria can detaches from inside of catheter tube and travels into blood stream. With these devices, risk increases with duration of device in the body.
The general mechanism of infection related to in-dwelling polymers can be summarized as follows: Free floating microorganisms attach to the plastic surface. Colonies of bacteria grow and permanently anchor to plastic surface. A biofilm formation results as colonies grow and mature. Infection occurs when biofilm detaches from plastic substrate.
We offer a range of custom polymer blends using traditional and state-of-the-art antimicrobial additives to fight infection, including silver-based and polymer-based solutions.
Silver has been well recognized for fighting infection. More accurately it is silver ions, a by-product of oxidation of silver, that have excellent antimicrobial properties. Silver, carbon and other metals may be added to polymers to tailor oxidation for efficacy and duration.
Polymer-based technology, also known as quaternary ammonium compounds, rely on positively charged polyatomic ions to fight infection. These quats are blended with polymers forming a permanent bond and retain their ionic charge independent of solution pH to which they are exposed. This newer technology offers considerable promise in cost and performance relative to other microbicides.