Goal: This work introduces an integrated system incorporated seamlessly with a commercial Foley urinary catheter for bacterial growth sensing and biofilm treatment.
Methods: The system is comprised of flexible, interdigitated electrodes incorporated with a urinary catheter via a 3D-printed insert for impedance sensing and bioelectric effect-based treatment. Each of the functions were wirelessly controlled using a custom application that provides a user-friendly interface for communicating with a custom PCB via Bluetooth to facilitate implementation in practice.
Results: The integrated catheter system maintains the primary functions of indwelling catheters - urine drainage, balloon inflation - while being capable of detecting the growth of Escherichia coli, with an average decrease in impedance of 13.0% after 24 hours, tested in a newly-developed simulated bladder environment. Furthermore, the system enables bioelectric effect-based biofilm reduction, which is performed by applying a low-intensity electric field that increases the susceptibility of biofilm bacteria to antimicrobials, ultimately reducing the required antibiotic dosage.
Conclusion: Overall, this modified catheter system represents a significant step forward for catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) management using device-based approaches, integrating flexible electrodes with an actual Foley catheter along with the control electronics and mobile application.
Significance: CAUTIs, exacerbated by the emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, represent a significant challenge as one of the most prevalent healthcare-acquired infections. These infections are driven by the colonization of indwelling catheters by bacterial biofilms.