Development of an Infection-Responsive Fluorescent Sensor for the Early Detection of Urinary Catheter Blockage

Scarlet Milo, Florianne B. Acosta, Hollie J. Hathaway, Laura A. Wallace, Naing T. Thet, Andrew Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (SciVal)
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Formation of crystalline biofilms following infection by Proteus mirabilis can lead to encrustation and blockage of longterm indwelling catheters, with serious clinical consequences. We describe a simple sensor, placed within the catheter drainage bag, to alert of impending blockage via a urinary color change. The pHresponsive sensor is a dual-layered polymeric “lozenge”, able to release the self-quenching dye 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein in response to the alkaline urine generated by the expression of bacterial urease. Sensor performance was evaluated within a laboratory model of the catheterized urinary tract, infected with both urease positive and negative bacterial strains under conditions of established infection, achieving an average “early warning” of catheter blockage of 14.5 h. Signaling only occurred following infection with urease positive bacteria. Translation of these sensors into a clinical environment would allow appropriate intervention before the occurrence of catheter blockage, a problem for which there is currently no effective control method.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-617
Number of pages6
JournalACS Sensors
Issue number3
Early online date14 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2018


  • Proteus mirabilis
  • biofilms
  • carboxyfluorescein
  • indwelling catheter
  • sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Instrumentation


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