The kinetics of adherence of single isolates of and to catheters made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Teflon, siliconised latex, polyurethane and Vialon was evaluated by a radiometric assay. Radiolabelled bacteria (10 cfu/ml) were incubated in vials containing 1-cm lengths of catheter for up to 3 days. The peak of maximal adherence to each biomaterial was reached after 24 h for and after 72 h for the other strains. Bacterial adherence to PVC and siliconised latex was significantly higher (2–6 times; p≪0·05) than to the other biomaterials for all the strains. The lowest values of adherence were observed with polyurethane and Vialon for the staphylococci but with Teflon for and . Bacterial viability and growth was evaluated in eluates obtained from incubation of segments of each catheter in buffer for 24 h. None of the eluates affected the viability of the staphylococci. However, all of them, significantly increased the growth of and with the exception of the eluate from siliconised latex, in which the inoculum count was reduced to an undetectable level for . We conclude that bacterial adherence to catheters may depend in part on the nature of the biomaterial and that certain substances eluted from the catheters may affect the viability and growth of different micro-organisms.


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