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Activity of an antimicrobial hydrocephalus shunt catheter against Propionibacterium acnes

Bayston, Roger; Vera, Litza; Ashraf, Waheed


Roger Bayston

Litza Vera

Waheed Ashraf


Shunt infection is a major complication affecting approximately 10% of procedures. Propionibacterium acnes, an anaerobic skin bacterium, is increasingly recognized as a shunt pathogen, causing up to 14% of infections. Though susceptible to penicillin and cephalosporins, P. acnes shunt infections are not preventable by means of perioperative prophylaxis, due to poor cerebrospinal fluid penetration. Antimicrobial shunts with activity against staphylococci are available, but their activity against P. acnes is unknown, and the study was designed to determine this. Three methods of evaluation were used in order to determine the emergence of resistance when exposure is to high inocula for long periods, the time taken to kill 100% of the bacteria attached to the shunt, and the duration of activity under constant flow conditions with repeated bacterial challenge. Despite repeated exposure to high bacterial inocula over 70 days, no resistance was seen. The time taken to kill all attached bacteria, 96 h, was twice that taken to kill attached staphylococci. Nevertheless, under constant flow conditions with repeated challenges, the antimicrobial catheters resisted colonization by P. acnes for 56 days. Using tests that were designed to be clinically predictive when done together, the results suggest that the antimicrobial catheters will be able to prevent colonization of hydrocephalus shunts by P. acnes.


Bayston, R., Vera, L., & Ashraf, W. (2010). Activity of an antimicrobial hydrocephalus shunt catheter against Propionibacterium acnes. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 54(12),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 1, 2010
Deposit Date Jul 17, 2012
Publicly Available Date Jul 17, 2012
Journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Print ISSN 0066-4804
Electronic ISSN 0066-4804
Publisher American Society for Microbiology
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 54
Issue 12
Public URL
Publisher URL


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