back to news Nov. 8, 2011

Why Do Some Patients Get Infections from Cardiac Implants? New Study Offers Clues

Steven Lower, associate professor in the School of Earth Sciences, is co-lead author of a new study that offers ideas about why it is that some patients develop a potentially deadly blood infection from their implanted cardiac devices.

The researchers find that bacterial cells in these patients' bodies have gene mutations that allow them to stick to the devices. These findings offer hope for potential techniques that could be developed to prevent infections in patients who need these devices to stay alive.

“We’re probing the initial step to that biofilm formation. Can you shut that down somehow? If that bacterium never sticks, there’s no biofilm. It’s that simple. But it’s not quite that simple in practice,” Lower said.

Lower will give the Science Sundays Public Lecture, A Bacterium’s Sense of Touch, on Nov. 20

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