Send to

Choose Destination
BMC Microbiol. 2010 Oct 19;10:266. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-10-266.

Microbiological pattern of arterial catheters in the intensive care unit.

Author information

Research Centre for Clinical and Community Practice Innovation, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.



Intravascular catheter related infection (CRI) is one of the most serious nosocomial infections. Diagnostic criteria include a positive culture from the catheter tip along with blood, yet in many patients with signs of infection, current culture techniques fail to identify pathogens on catheter segments. We hypothesised that a molecular examination of the bacterial community on short term arterial catheters (ACs) would improve our understanding of the variety of organisms that are present in this niche environment and would help develop new methods for the diagnosis of CRI.


The whole bacterial community presenting on all ACs was evaluated by molecular methods, i.e., a strategy of whole community DNA extraction, PCR amplification followed by cloning and 16S rDNA sequence analysis. Ten ACs were removed from patients suspected of CRI and 430 clones from 5 "colonised" and 5 "uncolonised" (semi-quantitative method) AC libraries were selected for sequencing and subsequent analysis. A total of 79 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified at the level of 97% similarity belonging to six bacterial divisions. An average of 20 OTUs were present in each AC, irrespective of colonisation status. Conventional culture failed to reveal the majority of these bacteria.


There was no significant difference in the bacterial diversity between the 'uncolonised' and 'colonised' ACs. This suggests that vascular devices cultured conventionally and reported as non infective may at times potentially be a significant source of sepsis in critically ill patients. Alternative methods may be required for the accurate diagnosis of CRI in critically ill patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication type, MeSH terms, Secondary source ID

Publication type

MeSH terms

Secondary source ID

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center