The antimicrobial activity of a silver-impregnated polymer catheter (the Erlanger silver catheter) was demonstrated by determining the microbial adhesion to the surface of the catheter and by measuring the rate of proliferation (viability) of microorganisms at this site. On the surface of a catheter impregnated with silver, according to previously described methods, the bacterial adhesion ofStaphylococcus epidermidis is reduced by 28–40%. Bacterial proliferation on the surface of the catheter and biofilm production are also substantially reduced by the elution of free silver ions from the catheter matrix. Bacteriostatic and bactericidal activities can be determined. The antimicrobial efficacy of the silver catheter is not reduced by blood components. There is no loss in antimicrobial activity for weeks after preincubation in water or phosphate buffered saline. The antimicrobial activity depends on the extent of the active silver surface.
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