Biofilm formation on tracheostomy tubes

Ear Nose Throat J. 2002 Sep;81(9):659-61.


An increased awareness of biofilms and their mechanisms has led to a better understanding of bacterial infections that occur following the placement of tracheostomy tubes and other implanted devices and prostheses. One aspect of biofilm formation that is still subject to debate is whether the specific material that is used to manufacture a tube has any bearing in the incidence of infection. We conducted a test of four different tube materials--polyvinyl chloride, silicone, stainless steel, and sterling silver--to ascertain how bacterial biofilms form on tracheostomy tubes and to determine if there is a material-dependent difference in biofilm formation. Scanning electron microscopy demonstrated that Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus epidermidis both formed bacterial biofilms on tracheostomy tubes in vitro. We also found that there was no difference in susceptibility to biofilm formation among the four tube materials tested.

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology*
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / physiology*
  • Tracheostomy / instrumentation*