Purpose: Iontophoresis kills microbes in vitro and, therefore, may be a useful method for eliminating microbial populations associated with catheter-induced urinary tract infections in vivo. Materials and Methods: Catheters were modified to deliver current to platinum electrodes in the catheter tip. Female sheep were catheterized with this iontophoretic catheter and left ambulatory. In 5 sheep (experimental group) 400 microampere was applied to the catheter and withheld in 4 sheep (control group) for 20 to 21 days. The animals were then sacrificed. During the study, types and concentrations of bacteria, and physical and chemical characteristics of the urine samples were determined. Results: Throughout the study, bacteria levels were reduced in urinary tracts of the experimental group (103 to 104 microbes per ml.) compared with the control group (107 microbes per ml.), without extensive alterations to urine chemistry or the sheep urinary tract. Conclusions: Since iontophoresis safely reduced bacterial populations in catheterized sheep, this technology may reduce or eliminate nosocomial, catheter-induced urinary tract infections in humans.
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