Successful treatment of biofilm infections using shock waves combined with antibiotic therapy

Sci Rep. 2015 Dec 10;5:17440. doi: 10.1038/srep17440.


Many bacteria secrete a highly hydrated framework of extracellular polymer matrix on suitable substrates and embed within the matrix to form a biofilm. Bacterial biofilms are observed on many medical devices, endocarditis, periodontitis and lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients. Bacteria in biofilm are protected from antibiotics and >1,000 times of the minimum inhibitory concentration may be required to treat biofilm infections. Here, we demonstrated that shock waves could be used to remove Salmonella, Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus biofilms in urinary catheters. The studies were extended to a Pseudomonas chronic pneumonia lung infection and Staphylococcus skin suture infection model in mice. The biofilm infections in mice, treated with shock waves became susceptible to antibiotics, unlike untreated biofilms. Mice exposed to shock waves responded to ciprofloxacin treatment, while ciprofloxacin alone was ineffective in treating the infection. These results demonstrate for the first time that, shock waves, combined with antibiotic treatment can be used to treat biofilm infection on medical devices as well as in situ infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
  • Bacterial Infections / therapy
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Explosions*
  • Mice
  • Pseudomonas Infections / drug therapy
  • Pseudomonas Infections / microbiology
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / growth & development
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents