Preventing infections acquired during hospital stays is one tool in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. The knowledge and technology to do so exists, is well proven and is cost effective in the long term, according to Swedish medical device company Bactiguard.
The technology referred to is based on a very thin coating being applied to the surface of medical devices, for example urinary and central venous catheters. When in contact with fluids, noble metals in the coating create a galvanic effect which reduces microbial adhesion, keeping bacteria away, and thus preventing infection.
It’s a unique, yet simple, technology. The coating prevents bacteria from attaching themselves to the medical device, which means they cannot create biofilm or colonize. And that means there is less bacterial activity which could cause an infection, says Stefan Grass, Chief Medical Officer at Bactiguard.
He means, that preventing infections will lead to reduced use of antibiotics, which will mitigate the risk of antimicrobial resistance – a huge problem worldwide. During the last couple of years, scientist familiar with the problem have talked about a silent tsunami, a future upsurge of deaths caused by multi-resistant bacteria.
From this perspective, it is not surprising that India is one of the fastest-growing markets for the company. At the moment, Deepak Kumar, Director India and south Asia, is in ongoing discussion with health care providers within the field of home care for the elderly. That is a growing patient group in India, a group where long term use of catheters is quite common.
We have growing numbers of the elderly in India, and therefore many who will need health care at home. By using a coated urinary catheter for patients catheterized longer than two days, we can prevent infections. That will be a huge benefit both for single individuals and society at large, says Deepak Kumar.
Good news for the patients
A coated catheter can be used for a longer period of time, since there is less need to change it when the risk of infection is low. This is good news for the patient, reducing the need of removing and inserting a catheter, a procedure most patients are happy to avoid. Also, the patient is avoiding painful infections, including those caused by multi-resistant microbes. For the health care provider, it means using less time – which is hard currency within health care.
We are really talking about a win-win situation. We can make it possible for a health care provider to give more patients high standard care in their homes. At the same time, by avoiding infections, the quality of life for the single patient will be much higher, says Deepak Kumar.
He has long experience working in the field of infection prevention in India, where the challenges off antimicrobial resistance are constantly present. It is therefore not surprising that he wishes to inspire other regions and health care providers to work more with infection-prevention technologies such as the one Bactiguard provides.