Exit-site infections remain one of the main complications for percutaneous devices, such as catheters for peritoneal dialysis or drivelines for ventricular assist devices. Many efforts have been made to create a biological seal, yet without long-term success. This study investigates a new kind of percutaneous device which is coated with an extricable polymeric membrane. The bionic approach applies the naturally outwards directed growth of skin structures to technology: by pulling the protective membrane it slowly grows out of the body and a developing sulcus is exposed to dry air and an infection is avoided. In a feasibility study this kind of device was shown to reduce the rate of infection. To further investigate these devices, they were implanted in the skin of goats and observed for a period of more than 500 days. The membranes were pulled with a force of up to 2 N and the resulting movement was recorded. When being pulled, the membranes moved 0.4–0.9 mm per week, showing that the application of a continuously acting, defined force on the protective membrane causes the desired slow movement.
The authors received a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (grant number 13EZ0855). The authors would like to thank the cooperation partner Mecora Medizintechnik GmbH, Aachen, Germany, who also received a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (grant number 13EZ0855). The authors would also like to thank Nadine Banfi and Bagheri Life Sciences, Berlin, Germany, for the assistance in the animal experiments.
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