The role of biofilms in otolaryngologic infections: update 2007
Purpose of review: Biofilms have been shown to play a role in otitis media, sinusitis, cholesteatoma, tonsillitis, adenoiditis, and device infections. This article is written to review recent advances in the field.
Recent findings: The role of biofilms in the persistence of chronic, mucosal-based ENT-related infections was first recognized in otitis media. Definitive proof was lacking until the demonstration of bacterial biofilms on the middle-ear mucosa of children, not only with chronic otitis media with effusion, but also with recurrent otitis media. Strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from cholesteatoma are avid biofilm formers. Biofilms have been reported in the adenoids of children with chronic rhinosinusitis, helping to explain the clinical observation that adenoidectomy can be beneficial to children with chronic otitis or chronic rhinosinusiti. Additional studies have confirmed the presence of biofilms in chronic tonsillitis. Biofilms have also been shown to be involved in infected cochlear implants and tracheotomy tubes.
Summary: The recognition that chronic otolaryngologic bacterial infections are biofilm related has been the impetus for the development of new technologies for the study of biofilms and their prevention and treatment. Understanding that chronic bacterial infections are biofilm related is fundamental to developing rationale strategies for treatment and prevention.