Early attachment of anaerobic bacteria may play an important role in biliary stent blockage

Joseph Leung, Y. L. Liu, R. C Y Chan, Y. Tang, Y. Mina, A. F. Cheng, Jr Silva J.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background: In vitro studies have demonstrated that ciprofloxacin suppresses Escherichia coli attachment on stents, and ciprofloxacin has been shown to prolong stent patency in cats. However, clinical studies with antibiotic prophylaxis have produced conflicting results. The aim of this study was to isolate and identify the bacteria that attach early on unblocked stents removed from patients and to study their enzyme activities. Methods: Eighteen unblocked biliary stents were removed from 17 patients (benign obstruction in 14 and malignant obstruction in 4). All patients received antibiotic prophylaxis (mean of 6 days). Stents were in place for a mean of 33 days. The inside of stents was scraped and sludge was cultured aerobically and anaerobically. Identification of isolated bacteria and measurement of β-glucuronidase and phospholipase C activities were performed by using standard techniques. Gastric and duodenal juice from 18 patients with no biliary diseases was used as control samples. Results: All stents were patent and only 6 had visible sludge. There were 19 anaerobes isolated from 16 stents (Clostridium perfringens 13, Clostridium bifermentans 4 and Bacteroides fragilis 2). Phospholipase C was detected in all Clostridium species. β-Glucuronidase was produced only by 12 of 13 C perfringens isolates. Sixteen aerobes including Enterococcus species and Bacillus species were isolated but none produced β-glucuronidase or phospholipase C. There were no aerobic gram-negative bacteria isolated from stents. Clostridium species and B fragilis were not recovered from the control samples. Conclusions: In patients who had received antibiotic prophylaxis against gram-negative bacterial infection, anaerobic bacteria may play a role in initiating stent blockage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-729
Number of pages5
JournalGastrointestinal Endoscopy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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