Abstract and Introduction
Microorganisms commonly attach to living and nonliving surfaces, including those of indwelling medical devices, and form biofilms made up of extracellular polymers. In this state, microorganisms are highly resistant to antimicrobial treatment and are tenaciously bound to the surface. To better understand and control biofilms on indwelling medical devices, researchers should develop reliable sampling and measurement techniques, investigate the role of biofilms in antimicrobial drug resistance, and establish the link between biofilm contamination and patient infection.
Microbial biofilms develop when microorganisms irreversibly adhere to a submerged surface and produce extracellular polymers that facilitate adhesion and provide a structural matrix. This surface may be inert, nonliving material or living tissue. Biofilm-associated microorganisms behave differently from planktonic (freely suspended) organisms with respect to growth rates and ability to resist antimicrobial treatments and therefore pose a public health problem. This article describes the microbial biofilms that develop on or within indwelling medical devices (e.g., contact lenses, central venous catheters and needleless connectors, endotracheal tubes, intrauterine devices, mechanical heart valves, pacemakers, peritoneal dialysis catheters, prosthetic joints, tympanostomy tubes, urinary catheters, and voice prostheses).
Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2001;7(2) © 2001 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)