Document Type


Date of Original Version



Pharmacy Practice


Indwelling medical devices have become a major source of nosocomial infections; especially Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) infection, which remain the most common cause of ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) in neonates and children. Using medical grade polyvinyl chloride endotracheal tubes (ETTs), the activity of tobramycin and polymyxin-E was quantified in a simulated prevention and treatment static time kill model using biofilm forming P. aeruginosa. The model simulated three clinical conditions: 1) planktonic bacteria in the presence of antibiotics, tobramycin and polymyxin-E, without ETTs, 2) planktonic bacteria grown in the presence of P. aeruginosa, antibiotic and ETTs (simulating prevention) and 3) a 24h formed P. aeruginosa biofilm on ETTs prior to antibiotic exposure (simulating treatment). In the model simulating "prevention" (conditions 1 and 2 above), tobramycin alone or in combination with polymyxin-E was more bactericidal than polymyxin-E alone at 24 hours using a concentration greater than 2 times the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). However, after a 24h old biofilm was allowed to form on the ETTs, neither monotherapy nor combination therapy over 24 hours exhibited bactericidal or bacteriostatic effects. Against the same pathogens, tobramycin and polymyxin-E, both alone or in combination exhibited bactericidal activity prior to biofilm attachment to the ETTs, however no activity was observed once biofilm formed on ETTs. These findings support surveillance culturing to identify pathogens for a rapid and targeted approach to therapy, especially when P. aeruginosa is a potential pathogen.