Examination of the morphology of bacteria adhering to peritoneal dialysis catheters by scanning and transmission electron microscopy.

Journal of Clinical Microbiology
T J MarrieJ W Costerton

Abstract

We examined Tenckhoff peritoneal catheters by scanning and transmission electron microscopy to study the morphology of bacterial adherence. Two catheters were removed from uninfected patients, three from patients with exit site infections, four from patients with peritonitis, and one from a patient with both exit site infection and peritonitis. Infecting organisms included three of Staphylococcus aureus and one each of Enterobacter sp., Staphylococcus epidermidis, Achromobacter xylosoxidans, Serratia sp., Klebsiella sp., and Candida albicans. Considerable morphological variation in adherence to the peritoneal dialysis apparatus occurred. No inflammatory cells were ever seen in association with infected cuffs, only two of the five patients with peritonitis had inflammatory cells associated with their catheters. In both instances, these cells tended to occur in clumps and demonstrated no flattening when in contact with the surface. Colonization of the catheter was uneven--bacteria tended to occur in clusters. Extensive matrix formation was evident in several instances, and condensation of this matrix onto the bacteria during the dehydration process rendered clumps of bacterial cells amorphous at times. Bacteria were adherent to t...Continue Reading

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