Background: Since device colonization is a prelude to infection, an antimicrobial-coated device that reduces bacterial colonization can potentially protect against infection. The objective of this animal study was to assess the efficacy of a coating with minocycline and rifampin to prevent colonization of a grit-blasted titanium implant and subsequent osteomyelitis.
Methods: Twenty-five rabbits underwent implantation of a titanium-alloy pin, either coated with minocycline and rifampin (thirteen rabbits) or uncoated (twelve rabbits), into the right femoral medullary canal. The implanted devices were inoculated with 500 CFU (colony-forming units) of Staphylococcus aureus prior to wound closure. The rabbits were killed one week later, and the removed device, femoral bone, a specimen obtained by swabbing the track surrounding the device, and blood were cultured. The rates of device colonization, osteomyelitis, and device-related osteomyelitis were compared between the two groups of rabbits.
Results: The antimicrobial-coated devices had a significantly lower rate of colonization than the uncoated devices (five of thirteen compared with twelve of twelve, p = 0.0016) and were associated with significantly lower rates of osteomyelitis (six of thirteen compared with twelve of twelve, p = 0.005) and device-related osteomyelitis (five of thirteen compared with twelve of twelve, p = 0.0016). Bacteremia did not develop in any rabbit.
Conclusions: Orthopaedic devices coated with minocycline and rifampin significantly protected against device colonization and infection due to Staphylococcus aureus in this in vivo rabbit model.
Clinical relevance: It is possible that orthopaedic devices coated with this unique combination of antimicrobial agents may protect against the development of clinical infection in humans.