Devices to fight catheter-related infections
Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) affect ~1.7 M people in the USA and 4.1 M in Europe, contributing to 99,000 and 37,000 deaths/year, respectively. Catheter-related infections are the most frequent cause of HAI, leading to life-threatening complications and colossal medical costs. Current prevention/treatment options – sterilization protocols, lock solutions, systemic antibiotic administration – are inefficient and lead to bacterial resistance, a huge threat to public health. This review addresses the existing solutions in the market – mostly catheter caps –, and emerging alternatives, to fight catheter-related infections. Graphene-based biomaterials arise as interesting weapons against these infections, particularly in combination with light: their photothermal and photodynamic properties boost their own antimicrobial action, allowing them to kill bacteria without contributing to bacterial resistance.