Bacteriophage K antimicrobial-lock technique for treatment of Staphylococcus aureus central venous catheter-related infection: a leporine model efficacy analysis

J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2014 Oct;25(10):1627-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jvir.2014.06.009. Epub 2014 Aug 1.


Purpose: To determine whether a bacteriophage antimicrobial-lock technique can reduce bacterial colonization and biofilm formation on indwelling central venous catheters in a rabbit model.

Materials and methods: Cuffed central venous catheters were inserted into the jugular vein of female New Zealand White rabbits under image guidance. Catheters were inoculated for 24 hours with broth culture of methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus. The inoculum was aspirated, and rabbits were randomly assigned to two equal groups for 24 hours: (i) untreated controls (heparinized saline lock), (ii) bacteriophage antimicrobial-lock (staphylococcal bacteriophage K, propagated titer > 10(8)/mL). Blood cultures were obtained via peripheral veins, and the catheters were removed for quantitative culture and scanning electron microscopy.

Results: Mean colony-forming units (CFU) per cm(2) of the distal catheter segment, as a measure of biofilm, were significantly decreased in experimental animals compared with controls (control, 1.2 × 10(5) CFU/cm(2); experimental, 7.6 × 10(3); P = .016). Scanning electron microscopy demonstrated that biofilms were present on the surface of five of five control catheters but only one of five treated catheters (P = .048). Blood culture results were not significantly different between the groups.

Conclusions: In a rabbit model, treatment of infected central venous catheters with a bacteriophage antimicrobial-lock technique significantly reduced bacterial colonization and biofilm presence. Our data represent a preliminary step toward use of bacteriophage therapy for prevention and treatment of central venous catheter-associated infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteriophages* / genetics
  • Biofilms
  • Catheter-Related Infections / microbiology
  • Catheter-Related Infections / therapy*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / instrumentation*
  • Central Venous Catheters / adverse effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Jugular Veins / microbiology*
  • Rabbits
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / therapy*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development
  • Staphylococcus aureus / virology*