March 25, 2009

New catheter improves home dialysis

An anti-microbial catheter could vastly improve the quality of life for many home dialysis patients, researchers in Britain said.

The study, published in the journal Biomaterials, showed that the catheter has the potential to ward off attack from a wider variety of pathogens and protect Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis patients from infections for up to 100 days -- about 20 times longer than current catheters.

CAPD offers patients with kidney failure an alternative to traditional hemodialysis, in which patients are hooked up to a machine to have excess waste minerals filtered from their blood. Treatment can take up to four hours and needs to be done about three times a week.

CAPD uses a catheter directly into the patient's peritoneal cavity to collect waste fluids and replace them with dialysis solution, which is left in the body for about five hours and does the work that would normally be done by the kidney -- while the patient is at home.

However, the length of time the catheter needs to be left in the body leaves the patient especially vulnerable to infection, which often means a return to traditional hospital-based hemodialysis.

The new catheter, developed by the School of Clinical Sciences at The University of Nottingham, has been shown in the laboratory to kill on contact a wide range of the most common type of staphylococcal infections, including the hospital-acquired infection methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and, for the first time, a number of gram negative pathogens including E. coli.