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Infection alert in catheters could tackle hospital superbugs

New early warning system to prevent life-threatening urinary infections in catheter users.

A new infection alert system in catheters could prevent serious infections in millions of hospital patients worldwide. The system, detailed in a new paper in Biosensors and Bioelectronics, changes the colour of the urine so patients and carers can see easily if bacteria are starting to block the catheter.

The researchers who invented the new catheter infection alert, from the University of Bath, say it could help tackle these infections. It could also be beneficial for elderly people in care homes.

A catheter drains urine from the bladder when a person can’t release urine without help or is incontinent, including following anaesthesia. 100 million urinary catheters are used around the world every year, but the infections they sometimes cause can be problematic for thousands of people. Hospital acquired urinary infections affect more than 90,000 patients a year in the US alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new system designed by Dr. Toby Jenkins and his colleagues provides a means of early detection, so the catheter can be changed and the infection treated before a person becomes unwell.

“Catheter-related infections are a serious problem, especially if the bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. We hope that with this simple to use sensor system we can ultimately make a real difference to patients’ lives,” said Dr. Jenkins.

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Copyright: Medical News Today