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Development of a cost-effective anti-bacterial device for the 37 million urethral catheters used in enlarged Europe (SAFE CATHETER)
Start date: 15 Oct 2008, End date: 14 Oct 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"A survey conducted by WHO showed that 2,4 million of European patients suffer nosocomial infections every year. Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) account for approximately 40% of nosocomial infections; 80% of UTIs are associated with the use of indwelling urethral catheters. UTIs related to indwelling catheterisation prolong the mean length of hospitalisation, ranging from 2.4 to 19.8 days; 2 Billion Euro is the associated annual direct cost for National Health Services. Furthermore catheter associated UTIs are responsible for increased hospital mortality; the infection proves in fact fatal for around 30,000 people in Europe every year. Two routes of entry of uropathogens to catheterized urinary tracts exist: 1) extraluminal contamination may occur early, by direct inoculation when the catheter is inserted, or more frequently, by organisms ascending from the perineum by capillary action in the thin mucous film contiguous to the external catheter surface; 2) intraluminal contamination occurs by reflux of microorganisms gaining access to the catheter lumen from failure of closed drainage or contamination of urine in the collection bag. While extraluminal infection route was blocked by coating the external catheter walls with hydrogel-silver films that reproduce the natural barrier mechanism of urethra physiology, no effective solution exists today to avoid intraluminal infections. The overall objective of the project is to develop a cost-effective device able to create a barrier that avoids migration of the bacteria intraluminally. The proposed concept is based on a plastic cage whose internal walls are covered with a thin film of photocatalytic TiO2 (anatase), triggered by inexpensive low energy UV LEDs powered by coin cells commercially available for watches or calculators. The concept addresses the limitations of current approaches"
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