In vitro evaluation of the antimicrobial efficacy and biocompatibility of a silver-coated central venous catheter

J Biomater Appl. 1994 Jul;9(1):55-70. doi: 10.1177/088532829400900103.


Central venous catheter infection presents an important problem in modern medicine, leading sometimes to a life-threatening situation for the patient as well as contributing to prolonged hospital stay and to an increase in costs. We have evaluated the in vitro biocompatibility and antimicrobial activity of a silver-coated polyurethane catheter designed for use as a colonization-resistant, antiinfective catheter. Due to a comparatively low silver release, the catheter performed well in cell toxicity and blood compatibility tests as well as in acute toxicity tests done with mice. The antimicrobial activity was tested in stationary and dynamic bacterial adherence experiments using S. epidermidis, E. coli and P. aeruginosa as test strains. The silver-coated polyurethane catheter showed good ability to prevent microbial colonization of the catheter surface. Currently a clinical trial of the silver-coated catheter is under investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Biocompatible Materials / toxicity
  • Blood
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / instrumentation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control
  • Equipment Design
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / prevention & control
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Materials Testing
  • Mice
  • Polyurethanes / chemistry*
  • Polyurethanes / toxicity
  • Pseudomonas Infections / prevention & control
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / isolation & purification
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology
  • Rabbits
  • Silver / chemistry*
  • Silver / toxicity
  • Staphylococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / isolation & purification
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / physiology
  • Surface Properties


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Polyurethanes
  • Silver