SIU-WJU Article of the Month – February
Do stent biofilms cause stent-related morbidity?
SIU Academy®. Perez Fentes D. Feb 14, 2019; 257669
Dr. Daniel Adolfo Perez Fentes
Dr. Daniel Adolfo Perez Fentes
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To evaluate the influence of biofilms on morbidity associated with short-term ureteral stenting using contemporary methods of biofilm examination and validated assessment of symptoms.


Patients undergoing temporary ureteral stenting for secondary ureterorenoscopy due to urinary calculi were prospectively included. The German Ureteral Stent Symptoms Questionnaire (USSQ) was used to assess stent-associated morbidity.
Biofilms were removed from stents using ‘pinhole extraction’, a novel, validated, abrasion-based technique. Extracted biofilms were analyzed for total mass, bacterial load and mineral components. Correlation between total biofilm mass and USSQ total score was the primary outcome variable analyzed using Spearman correlation. Secondary outcomes included correlations between various biofilm characteristics and symptoms.


94 patients were included in the analysis. Extracted biofilm mass had a median of 37.0 mg (0–310.2 mg) per stent. No correlation between total biofilm mass and USSQ total score was found (Spearman r = 0.012; p = 0.911). Correlations between biofilm characteristics and morbidity were generally weak and not significant. Significant correlations could be found between biofilm mass and hematuria (r = 0.280; p = 0.007), and between the number of bacteria (qPCR) and the USSQ subscore for pain (r = 0.243; p = 0.019) and the intake of analgesics (r = 0.259; p = 0.012).


Based on elaborated biofilm examination methods and validated self-reported outcome measures, our findings indicate that biofilms might aggravate some lower urinary tract symptoms but are not the main trigger for stent-associated morbidity in short-term ureteral stenting.


Ureteral stent · Biofilm · Morbidity · Ureteral Stent Symptoms Questionnaire · USSQ · Symptoms
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