Urinary retention and acute kidney injury in a tetraplegic patient using condom catheter after partying: a preventable complication

Spinal cord injury patients, who manage their bladder using a condom catheter, are at risk of developing urine retention when they consume large volumes of alcoholic drinks within a short period of time.

A male tetraplegic patient had been managing satisfactorily penile sheath drainage for 8 years. He went out socializing during which he consumed large volumes of alcohol but did not take any recreational drugs. The following morning, he noticed distension of the lower abdomen and passed urine in dribbles. He then developed a temperature and became unwell. He was seen by district nurses and a doctor, who prescribed antibiotics. He continued to feel unwell. After 8 days, he referred himself to a spinal unit at Regional Spinal Injuries Centre, Southport. The blood test results showed the following: blood urea: 19. 8 mmol/L; creatinine: 172 μmol/L; and C-reactive protein: 336. 4 mg/L. Urethral catheterization led to immediate drainage of 1,400 mL of urine. A computed tomography scan revealed an enlarged, swollen left kidney, indicating acute bacterial nephritis. He was prescribed intravenous fluids and Meropenem. Creatinine decreased to 46 μmol/L.

Spinal cord injury patients using condom catheters should be made aware of the risk of urine retention when they consume large amounts of alcoholic drinks in a short period of time. Patients and caregivers should be informed to consider intermittent catheterizations for 24-48 hours or insert indwelling urethral catheter when planning for an evening out.

International medical case reports journal. 2015 Oct 15*** epublish ***

Subramanian Vaidyanathan, Fahed Selmi, Peter L Hughes, Gurpreet Singh, Bakul M Soni

Regional Spinal Injuries Centre, Southport and Formby District General Hospital, Town Lane, Southport, UK. , Regional Spinal Injuries Centre, Southport and Formby District General Hospital, Town Lane, Southport, UK. , Department of Radiology, Southport and Formby District General Hospital, Town Lane, Southport, UK. , Department of Urology, Southport and Formby District General Hospital, Town Lane, Southport, UK. , Regional Spinal Injuries Centre, Southport and Formby District General Hospital, Town Lane, Southport, UK.

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