March 22, 2013

Structure of a Central Venous Line Infection

Image courtesy of the Younger Lab

Shown is a scanning electron micrograph of a section central venous catheter infected with coagulase negative staphylococcus, one of the most common causes of line sepsis.  While bacteria are present in this image, they're mostly concealed by the host response -  the deposition of fibrin and many platelets.  Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine considers the problem of medical device infection from the most fundamental -- how bacteria interact with surface molecules on implanted materials -- to the most applied -- what will be required of process improvement strategies to reduce the rate of infection.