Nano silver in medical products helps preventing infections

Application of nano silver in medical products offers great benefits due to its wide range of effects against germs – even against bacteria that have developed resistances against many conventional antibiotics (multi-resistant germs such as MRSA). [1]

The long-term effect of nano silver is particularly important here. While conventional antibiotics, e. g. from implants, are often washed out just a short time after surgery, firmly integrated nano silver may prevent the settlement of artificial surfaces in the body with germs even after years.

Nano silver has already been used successfully in combination with antibiotics in bone cements. Nano silver supports the antibiotic Gentamicin that is added to the bone cement with its long-term effect, considerably reducing the infection risk after bone surgery. [2] 

Antimicrobial wound dressings are also successfully applied with nano silver. In the early 20th century, wound infections were the greatest cause of sickness and death after burns. When the skin is burned, the protective skin barrier is interrupted and the skin becomes particularly vulnerable to bacteria and therefore wound infection. Treatment with silver agents significantly reduced the sickness and mortality rate in this area. [3][4]

Other application areas of antimicrobially equipped medical products:

  • Neuro-surgery shunts [5]
  • Urology catheters [5]
  • Orthopaedic implants [1]
  • Suturing material [1]
  • Bone plates and screws [2]

Other products equipped with nano silver may play an important role in the prevention of hospital infections in future. From surface disinfection to medical device technology, there are many other possible applications. We will gladly keep you up to date on our R&D activities/possibilities.

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  1. R. Fries et al, NanoTrustDossiers. 2009, 10, 1-6.
  2. H-D. Lemke 2013, Vortrag "Nanosilberpartikel"
  3. J. Jain et al., molecular pharmaceutics 2009, Vol.6 (5), 1388-1401.
  4. J. Fong & F. Wood, Int. J. Nanomedicine 2006, Vol. 1(4) 441-449.
  5. K. Chaloupka et al., Trends Biotechnol. 2010, Vol. 28(11): 580-88.
  6. Allianz Deutschland AG (Hrsg.), Report "Krank im Krankenhaus; Resistente Erreger - eine schleichende Gefahr für Mensch und Gesundheitssysteme"
  7. LGL Bayern: Krankenhausinfektionen
  8. A. Kramer et al., Hyg. Med. 2010  Vol. 35 (12): 476-478
  9. Gesundheitsberichterstattung des Bundes, Heft 8: Nosokomiale Infektionen
Multiresistant bacteria

While bacterial infections used to be controllable by antibiotics, the excess and improper use of antibiotics in humans and animals in the last decades led to the development of resistances. [6] Specifically the bacteria strains of S. aureus (MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) that have become resistant against many antibiotics develop into an increasing problem.

Hospital infections

All in all, extrapolation suggests about 500,000 to 800,000 cases of nosocomial infections per year in Germany. The share of avoidable hospital infections is estimated to be at around 20 to 30 %. [7]

The most important nosocomial infections are urinary infections from urinary catheters, infections of the respiratory tract and post-surgical wound infection. There are several approaches of prevention. Since antibiotics-resistant bacteria can be killed with silver, antimicrobial equipment of medical products with nano silver will become a new and important basis [5]. Additionally, however, the classic hygiene measures such as strict disinfection and cleaning will continue to be vital [8]. Due to the growing average age of the population and the increasing problem of multiresistant germs, it is expected that the frequency of hospital infections will increase in future [9].