, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 51-57
Date: 18 May 2011

Update on biofilm infections in the urinary tract

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Abstract

Purpose

Biofilm infections have a major role in implants or devices placed in the human body. As part of the endourological development, a great variety of foreign bodies have been designed, and with the increasing number of biomaterial devices used in urology, biofilm formation and device infection is an issue of growing importance.

Methods

A literature search was performed in the Medline database regarding biofilm formation and the role of biofilms in urogenital infections using the following items in different combinations: “biofilm,” “urinary tract infection,” “bacteriuria,” “catheter,” “stent,” and “encrustation.” The studies were graded using the Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine classification.

Results

The authors present an update on the mechanism of biofilm formation in the urinary tract with special emphasis on the role of biofilms in lower and upper urinary tract infections, as well as on biofilm formation on foreign bodies, such as catheters, ureteral stents, stones, implants, and artificial urinary sphincters. The authors also summarize the different methods developed to prevent biofilm formation on urinary foreign bodies.

Conclusions

Several different approaches are being investigated for preventing biofilm formation, and some promising results have been obtained. However, an ideal method has not been developed. Future researches have to aim at identifying effective mechanisms for controlling biofilm formation and to develop antimicrobial agents effective against bacteria in biofilms.