Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Michael Jaffe

Second Advisor

William Corson Hunter

Third Advisor

Treena Livingston Arinzeh

Abstract

Hospital related infections generally result from the combined effect of preexisting bacteria on the patient and invasive devices. This demonstrates the significance in improving these medical devices to increase the quality of life of the patients that require them. This study will attempt to evaluate the antibacterial efficacy of nanocopper particles and an electrical stimulus for the usage in medical device development and the hospital environment.

For devices such as catheters, infections typically result from bacteria entering the body from the outside. This is accomplished by bacteria attaching themselves to the exterior of the device and producing biofilm which allows them to enter the body and cause an infection.

The first and second studies positively demonstrate that the nanocopper and electrical stimulus work well in creating inhibition zones. However, the third test which focuses primarily on biofilm prevention presents negative results. In fact, it appears that the nanocopper has no effect on biofilm growth at all. The reasons for these mixed results could be due to a variety of reasons. For instance, when adding small particles to a very viscous solution, ensuring thorough dispersion proves very difficult without the proper tools which may have influenced the observed discrepancies. Another, possible conclusion could be due to the variability of thickness of the samples which can contribute to the high standard deviations. The results of this thesis indicate that with the proper materials and preparation, the application of nanocopper and direct current can potentially be applied towards the development of medical devices.

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