Filtration to assist infection prevention

Water is the basis of life. But water systems with sub-optimal quality management may pose a particular risk of infection if they promote microbial growth and serve as a source of antibiotic-resistant pathogens or health-related infections.

Tap water should meet strict safety standards in the United States, but it's not sterile. When water exits the faucet, certain counts and types of bacteria and other microbes can be present. For typical household purposes such as washing, bathing or drinking, these microbes rarely pose a serious health risk.

In healthcare, on the other hand, the way water is used is more diverse and patients who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed are more susceptible to infections. Certain conditions in healthcare plumbing systems can even encourage the growth of biofilm. This can lead to dangerously high numbers of potential pathogens. In addition, the risk does not stop at the faucet – any use of water in patient care must be assessed for risk and whether it contains health-related pathogens that could lead to transmission.

Gram-negative bacteria in medical facilities

Studies show that contaminated water causes up to 50% of Pseudomonas aeruginosa-related nosocomial infections in intensive care units. As early as 2008, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimated that nosocomial infections in the USA are responsible for 1.7 million infections and 99,000 deaths. Of these, 1,400 deaths are attributed solely to the gram-negative pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa (1).

According to more recent figures, 648,000 cases of nosocomial infections occurred in the United States, 23,000 of which resulted in death as a result of multidrug-resistant pathogens (2). Patients with a significantly weakened immune system, such as patients in intensive care, transplant or oncology units, but also neonates, are particularly susceptible to nosocomial infections. Drinking water installations are therefore a relevant but previously underestimated infection reservoir for Pseudomonas aeruginosa to monitor (3).

Water filtration as an essential part of infection prevention programs

A unique technology in the area of water filtration helps to contain the risk of water-associated nosocomial infections in medical facilities. Water filters used at the outlet of the tap or shower meet the following criteria:

  • Bacterial retention per ASTM F838
  • Medical Device Class II
  • Bacteriostatic properties of the filter housing over the entire service life
  • Surface of the filter can be cleaned using common disinfectants.
  • The stream of water exiting the filter can be directed away from the drain hole where biofilm may grow.

Sterilizing grade filtration delivers a continuously high flow over the entire recommended onstream life of 50 days*. The bacteriostatic properties of the filter housing counteract extraneous contamination and biofilm formation over the entire service life.

Certified quality management

i3 Membrane manufactures in accordance with the requirements of 21 CFR part 820 (Quality System Regulation QSR), which are in accordance with DIN EN ISO 13485. We meet the highest requirements regarding the safety and reliability of our products and services as well as minimizing risks in product development and product manufacture.

*Onstream life can be shortened if water quality is poor

1 Holmes C, Cervia JS, Ortolano GA, et al. Preventive efficacy and cost-effectiveness of point-of-use water filtration in a subacute care unit. Am J Infect Control. 2010;(38):69-71. doi:10.1016/j.ajic.2009.04.284

2 Gastmeier P, Geffers C, Herrmann M, et al. Nosokomiale Infektionen und Infektionen mit multiresistenten Erregern – Häuftigkeit und Sterblichkeit. Dtsch Med Wschr. 2016;141(06): 421-426. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-106299

3 Sheffer PJ, Stout JE, Wagener MM, et al. Efficacy of new point-of-use water filter for preventing exposure to Legionella and waterborne bacteria. Am J Infect Control. 2005;(33):20-25. doi:10.1016/j.ajic.2005.03.012

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