Fused Deposition Modelling as an Effective Tool for Anti-Infective Dialysis Catheter Fabrication

Essy Mathew, Juan Dominguez Robles, Sarah Stewart, Elena Mancuso, Kieran O’Donnell, Eneko Larraneta Landa, Dimitrios Lamprou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
153 Downloads (Pure)


Catheter associated infections are a common complication that occurs in dialysis patients. Current strategies to prevent infection include catheter coatings containing heparin, pyrogallol or silver nanoparticles, which all have an increased risk of causing resistance in bacteria. Therefore, a novel approach for manufacture, such as the use of additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D-printing, is required. Filaments were produced by extrusion using thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and Tetracycline Hydrochloride (TC) in various concentrations (e.g. 0%, 0.25%, 0.5% and 1%). The extruded filaments were used in a fused deposition modelling (FDM) 3D printer to print catheter constructs at varying concentrations. Release studies in phosphate buffered saline (PBS), microbiology studies, thermal analysis, contact angle, ATR‐FTIR, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray Micro Computer Tomography (μCT) analysis were conducted on the printed catheters. The results suggested that TC was uniformly distributed within the TPU matrix. The microbiology testing of the catheters showed that devices containing TC had an inhibitory effect on the growth of Staphylococcus aureus NCTC 10788 bacteria. Catheters containing 1% TC maintained inhibitory effect after 10‐day release studies. After an initial burst release in the first 24 h, there was a steady release of TC in all concentrations of catheters. 3D-printed antibiotic catheters were successfully printed with inhibitory effect on S. aureus bacteria. Finally, TC containing catheters showed resistance to S. aureus adherence to their surfaces when compared with catheters containing no TC. Catheters containing 1% of TC showed a bacterial adherence reduction of up to 99.97%. Accordingly, the incorporation of TC to TPU materials can be effectively used to prepare anti-infective catheters using FDM. This study highlights the potential for drug impregnated medical devices to be created through AM.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Early online date23 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2019


  • 3D Printing
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Fused Deposition Modelling
  • Extrusion
  • Catheters
  • Dialysis
  • Drug Release


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