In vitro evaluation of the antibiotic lock technique (ALT) for the treatment of catheter-related infections caused by staphylococci

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2006 Jun;57(6):1110-5. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkl098. Epub 2006 Mar 23.


Objectives: To investigate appropriate antimicrobial agents, the optimal concentration and treatment duration for the antibiotic lock technique (ALT) to treat catheter-related infections caused by Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus.

Methods: We evaluated the bacterial killing activity of vancomycin, teicoplanin, ciprofloxacin, rifampicin, cefazolin, gentamicin, nafcillin and erythromycin against biofilms formed by two strains of S. aureus and two strains of S. epidermidis. The effectiveness of the antibiotic lock was assayed after exposure to antibiotics (1, 5 and 10 mg/mL) for 1, 3, 5, 7, 10 or 14 days using an in vitro model of biofilms on polyurethane film.

Results: The biofilms were completely sterile after exposure to vancomycin (5 mg/mL) for 5 days and teicoplanin (5 and 10 mg/mL) for 7 days. Ciprofloxacin and rifampicin (both 5 mg/mL) achieved eradication of the biofilms of both staphylococcal species more rapidly than vancomycin or teicoplanin. Significant biofilm eradication was not achieved with cefazolin, nafcillin, gentamicin and erythromycin at any of the time exposures examined.

Conclusions: The data suggest that 5 mg/mL vancomycin, ciprofloxacin or rifampicin can eradicate S. epidermidis and S. aureus biofilms within 5 days. These findings warrant prospective clinical trials for the evaluation of the clinical efficacy of ALT for less than 10 days.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Catheters, Indwelling*
  • Humans
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / etiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / drug effects*
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents