In vitro comparison of epidural bacteria filters permeability and screening scanning electron microscopy

Braz J Anesthesiol. 2015 Nov-Dec;65(6):491-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bjane.2013.08.004. Epub 2013 Nov 11.


Background and objectives: Epidural catheter bacteria filters are barriers in the patient-controlled analgesia/anaesthesia for preventing contamination at the epidural insertion site. The efficiency of these filters varies according to pore sizes and materials.

Method: The bacterial adhesion capability of the two filters was measured in vitro experiment. Adhesion capacities for standard Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 25923) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC 27853) strains of the two different filters (Portex and Rusch) which have the same pore size were examined. Bacterial suspension of 0.5 Mc Farland was placed in the patient-controlled analgesia pump, was filtered at a speed of 5 mL/h. in continuous infusion for 48 h and accumulated in bottle. The two filters were compared with colony counts of bacteria in the filters and bottles. At the same time, the filters and adhered bacteria were monitored by scanning electron microscope.

Results: Electron microscopic examination of filters showed that the Portex filter had a granular and the Rusch filter fibrillary structure. Colony counting from the catheter and bottle showed that both of the filters have significant bacterial adhesion capability (p<0.001). After the bacteria suspension infusion, colony countings showed that the Portex filter was more efficient (p<0.001). There was not any difference between S. aureus and P. aeruginosa bacteria adhesion. In the SEM monitoring after the infusion, it was physically shown that the bacteria were adhered efficiently by both of the filters.

Conclusion: The granular structured filter was found statistically and significantly more successful than the fibrial. Although the pore sizes of the filters were same - of which structural differences shown by SEM were the same - it would not be right to attribute the changes in the efficiencies to only structural differences. Using microbiological and physical proofs with regard to efficiency at the same time has been another important aspect of this experiment.

Keywords: Bacteria filter; Filtro antibacteriano; Microscópio eletrônico de varredura; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Scanning electron microscope; Staphylococcus aureus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia, Epidural / instrumentation*
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacterial Adhesion
  • Filtration / instrumentation*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Permeability
  • Sterilization