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Title: Biofilms : biomaterials and chronic wounds
Author: Cairns, Scott
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 2895
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2012
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Healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) are a large and growing problem. Bacterial infections of patients and on the medical devices used to treat them represent a significant source of morbidity and mortality. There is also a significant economical impact to the healthcare system attributed to HCAIs. While bacterial infections per se are not a novel problem, the discovery of an adherent polymicrobial phenotype called a biofilm is. A biofilm is defined by its structure and the community of bacteria therein. This study investigated bacteria biofilms in a number of pertinent clinical scenarios. To achieve this, samples were taken from five different but related clinical areas where biofilms are known to infect or are suspected to, namely endotracheal tubes, tracheostomy tubes, burn wounds, chronic wounds and chronic wound dressings. Samples were analysed using microbiological and molecular analysis techniques, the latter included polymerase chain reactions, species-specific PCR and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis to assess microbial diversity. Fluorescent in-situ hybridization was used subsequently to analyse species orientation and biofilm structure within the biofilm. This study showed a diverse bacterial population in all the samples, with the presence of oral biota in the ETT specimens, changing to commensal bacteria over time. Large threedimensional biofilm structures were present in the specimens confirming the presence of biofilms, and within one of the chronic wound dressings where a complex biofilm was visible within the matrix of the dressing itself. These findings have considerable significance clinically, not only in demonstrating the need for biofilm targeted diagnostic techniques, but also in highlighting the need for specific biofilm treatment modalities in critical care, burn services and chronic wound management.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (M.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QR Microbiology ; R Medicine (General) ; RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology