Urinary catheters, especially in patients with long-term catheter requirements, frequently are a source of infection. Iontophoresis has been proposed as a method to decrease or eliminate such infections. Several types of material were examined for their potential use as electrodes in an iontophoretic catheter system. Silver, copper and nickel electrodes did kill microorganisms but did not show longevity. Carbon and gold electrodes showed longevity and killing of microorganisms. Gold proved to be somewhat better than carbon in killing Klebsiella pneumoniae in a broth. Few organisms survived iontophoresis. Those few that survived (mainly Klebsiella in broth), when rechallenged by iontophoresis, did not show any striking resistance to iontophoresis. Our data support the proposition that inclusion of electrodes, depending on the electrode type, in a catheter probably will decrease or eliminate a bacterial population in urine and, thus, may help prevent catheter-related infections and their sequelae.
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