Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The antimicrobial effect of Octenidine-dihydrochloride coated polymer tracheotomy tubes on Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonisation

Michaela Zumtobel1*, Ojan Assadian23, Matthias Leonhard1, Maria Stadler3 and Berit Schneider1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

2 Institute of Hygiene, Experimental Microbiology and Quality Research, Paracelsus Medical Private University, Salzburg, Austria

3 Department of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

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BMC Microbiology 2009, 9:150  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-150

Published: 25 July 2009



The surface of polymeric tracheotomy tubes is a favourable environment for biofilm formation and therefore represents a potential risk factor for the development of pneumonia after tracheotomy. The aim of this in-vitro study was to develop octenidine-dihydrochloride (OCT) coated polymer tracheotomy tubes and investigate any effects on Staphylococcus (S.) aureus and Pseudomonas (P.) aeruginosa colonization. Additionally the resistance of the OCT coating was tested using reprocessing procedures like brushing, rinsing and disinfection with glutaraldehyde


Contamination with S. aureus: Before any reprocessing, OCT coated tracheotomy tubes were colonized with 103 cfu/ml and uncoated tracheotomy tubes with 105 cfu/ml (P = 0.045). After reprocessing, no differences in bacterial concentration between modified and conventional tubes were observed.

Contamination with P. aeruginosa: Before reprocessing, OCT coated tubes were colonized with 106 cfu/ml and uncoated tubes with 107 cfu/ml (P = 0.006). After reprocessing, no significant differences were observed.


OCT coating initially inhibits S. aureus and P. aeruginosa colonisation on tracheotomy tubes. This effect, however, vanishes quickly after reprocessing of the tubes due to poor adhesive properties of the antimicrobial compound. Despite the known antimicrobial effect of OCT, its use for antimicrobial coating of tracheotomy tubes is limited unless methods are developed to allow sustained attachment to the tube.