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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2005 Jan;31(1):115-9.

Antibacterial effects of extracorporeal shock waves.

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Klinik und Poliklinik für Orthopädie und Sportorthopädie der Technischen Universität München, München, Germany.


Despite considerable knowledge about effects of extracorporeal shock-wave therapy (ESWT) on eukaryotic tissues, only little data are available concerning their effect on prokaryotic microorganisms. The objective of the present study was to determine the bactericidal activity as a function of energy flux density and shock-wave impulse number. Standardised suspensions of Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923 were exposed to different impulse numbers of shock waves with an energy flux density (ED) up to 0.96 mJ mm(-2) (2 Hz). Subsequently, viable bacteria were quantified by culture and compared with an untreated control. After applying 4000 impulses, a significant bactericidal effect was observed with a threshold ED of 0.59 mJ mm(-2) (p < 0.05). A threshold impulse number of more than 1000 impulses was necessary to reduce bacterial growth (p < 0.05). Further elevation of energy and impulse number exponentially increased bacterial killing. ESWT proved to exert significant antibacterial effect in an energy-dependent manner. Certain types of difficult-to-treat infections could offer new applications for ESWT.

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