When patients are mechanically ventilated, endotracheal tubes have the potential to disrupt normal airway secretion production and clearance. This ultimately results in secretion accumulation within standard endotracheal tubes and leads to numerous complications for the patient. Sharklet has developed two different test models (in vitro and in vivo) to evaluate the ability of Sharklet-micropatterned endotracheal tubes to reduce the accumulation of these secretions and improve patient care.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a leading hospital acquired infection in intensive care units despite improved patient care practices and advancements in endotracheal tube (ETT) designs. The ETT provides a conduit for bacterial access to the lower respiratory tract and a substratum for biofilm formation, both of which lead to VAP. A novel microscopic ordered surface topography, the Sharklet micro-pattern, has been shown to decrease surface attachment of numerous microorganisms, and may provide an alternative strategy for VAP prevention if included on the surface of an ETT. To evaluate the feasibility of this micro-pattern for this application, the microbial range of performance was investigated in addition to biofilm studies with and without a mucin-rich medium to simulate the tracheal environment in vitro.