a1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Dunedin Public Hospital, New Zealand
Objective: To describe the pathophysiology of biofilm communities and their role in otorhinolaryngological disease, with reference to the published literature.
Design: Review of relevant literature, using Medline and the combined search terms ‘biofilms’ and ‘otorhinolaryngology’, and also various related keywords such as ‘tonsil’ and ‘adenoid’.
Results: Description of biofilm pathophysiology and of published reports of biofilms in otorhinolaryngological disease.
Conclusion: Virtually all microbes live in biofilm communities. Within these communities, the microbes assume differing specialised roles which confer survival advantages on the community. These communities cause chronic and device-associated infections. Within the specialist field of otorhinolaryngology, biofilms have been shown to play a role in many infections, including: chronic otitis media, cholesteatoma, chronic tonsillitis, chronic sinusitis, and infections of tracheostomies, endotracheal tubes and cochlear implants.
(Accepted January 22 2008)
(Online publication April 11 2008)
c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Emily Macassey, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Dunedin Public Hospital, Great King Street, Dunedin, New Zealand. Fax: 006434747956 E-mail: Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr E Macassey takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper.
Competing interests: None declared