Acrylic acid (AAc) and poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (PEGMA) were singly and dually grafted onto poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) urinary catheters with the aim of preventing biofouling by endowing the catheters with the ability to load and release antimicrobial agents and to avoid bacteria adhesion. The polymers were grafted applying an oxidative pre-irradiation ((60)Co source) method in two steps. Grafting percentage and kinetics were evaluated by varying the absorbed pre-irradiation dose, reaction time, monomer concentration, and reaction temperature. Catheters with grafting percentages ranging from 8 to 207% were characterized regarding thermal stability, surface hydrophilicity, mechanical properties, swelling, and lubricity. The modified catheters proved to have better compatibility with fibroblast cells than PVC after long exposure times. Furthermore, grafted catheters were able to load ciprofloxacin and sustained its release in urine medium for several hours. Ciprofloxacin-loaded catheters inhibited the growth of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus in the catheter surroundings and prevented bacteria adhesion.
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