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Tracheal tube biofilm as a source of bacterial colonization of the lung.

By T J Inglis, M R Millar, J G Jones and D A Robinson


Biofilm formation in tracheal tubes, its bacterial content, and its interaction with ventilator gas flow were investigated. At least 50 mg (dry weight) of biofilm was found in 30 of 40 tracheal tubes used in intensive care patients for 2 h to 10 days. Electron microscopy showed bacteria in this layer, and quantitative studies showed that bacterial counts could reach up to 10(6)/cm of tube length. Bacteria were cultured from the patient side of 18 of 78 heat and moisture exchanger-microbiological filter units removed from ventilator circuits. Particles were shown to detach from tracheal tube luminal biofilm and were projected up to 45 cm from the tracheal tube tip. Following contamination of the tracheal tube biofilm with a patient's own gastrointestinal flora, entrainment of bacteria in the inspiratory gas flow provides a mechanism for initial and repeated lung colonization

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1989
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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