Local control of polymicrobial infections via a dual antibiotic delivery system


Background: Contaminated traumatic open orthopedic wounds are frequently complicated by polymicrobial contamination and infection. In high-risk wounds, the standard of care comprises debridement and irrigation combined with antibiotics which can be applied directly or combined with systemic antibiotics. Recently, bioabsorbable chitosan sponges have been shown to be an effective single-agent delivery device for local antibiotics with and without negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT). Severely contaminated orthopedic wounds, however, are often complicated by polymicrobial infections, necessitating multiple antibiotic agents. As such, the purpose of this study was to determine if a chitosan sponge would provide a suitable delivery vehicle for multiple antibiotics for the treatment of a polymicrobial infection in a large animal polytraumatic extremity wound model. Methods: A complex polytraumatic extremity wound was created in 11 adult male Boer goats. Each wound was contaminated with a bioluminescent strain of S. aureus (1 ml of 108 colony forming units/ml) and of P. aeruginosa (1 ml of 108 CFU/ml) which are genetically engineered to allow quantification with a photon-counting camera. Six hours following initial wound creation and contamination, wounds were debrided and irrigated with low-pressure normal saline. The animals were randomized into one of two treatments: wet-to-dry dressings alone or a commercially available chitosan sponge loaded with 1 g vancomycin and 1.2 g of tobramycin. Each animal was then recovered and reimaged 48 h later for total bacteria content; tissue samples were taken from the wound bed to determine relative bacterial colonization. Results: All animals in the chitosan sponge group saw significant reductions in overall bacterial load of S. aureus and P. aeruginosa (p=0.001). The bioluminescence was also significantly reduced compared to the wet-to-dry dressing group (p=0.0001). Furthermore, whereas the antibiotic sponge group displayed near complete eradication of bacteria, the wounds treated with the wet-to-dry dressings alone displayed a significant 2-log increase in total bacteria at 48 h p=0.0001). S. aureus was the predominant species found in the wounds, comprising 95 and 99% of all bacteria found in the chitosan sponge and wet-to-dry, respectively. Conclusion: Dual antimicrobial therapy loaded in a chitosan sponge is an effective way to reduce polymicrobial infections traumatic extremity wound.

Publication Title

Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research