• bacteria;
  • catheter encrustation;
  • biofilms;
  • sensor


Biofilm formation in long-term urinary catheterized patients can lead to encrustation and blockage of urinary catheters with serious clinical complication. Catheter encrustation stems from infection with urease-producing bacteria, particularly Proteus mirabilis. Urease generates ammonia from urea, and the elevated pH of the urine results in crystallization of calcium and magnesium phosphates, which block the flow of urine. The aim of this research is to develop an “early warning” silicone sensor for catheter encrustation following bacterial infection of an in vitro bladder model system. The in vitro bladder model was infected with a range of urease positive and negative bacterial strains. Developed sensors enabled catheter blockage to be predicted ∼17–24 h in advance of its occurrence. Signaling only occurred following infection with urease positive bacteria and only when catheter blockage followed. In summary, sensors were developed that could predict urinary catheter blockage in in vitro infection models. Translation of these sensors to a clinical environment will allow the timely and appropriate management of catheter blockage in long-term catheterized patients. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 2012.