Clean intermittent catheterization revisited

Catheterization is the insertion of a hollow flexible tube (called a catheter) to drain the urine from the bladder and is probably one of the oldest urologic procedures, dating back 3000 years. Since 1972, when urologist Dr Jack Lapides described a procedure for performing clean intermittent catheterization, this method of bladder management has become lifesaving for an individual who cannot empty their bladder independently.

If the bladder is not emptied regularly, elevated storage pressures can develop which may put the upper tracts at risk of subsequent deterioration. Intermittent catheterization (IC) has become the first-line and preferred method of drainage in patients with neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction, as long as dexterity or available caregiver support and body habitus allow access. However, over the past 20 years, an evolution has occurred in the technology of catheters used for IC. But with these advances, so has controversy arisen. This article is a review of the current application of IC, the current technology in catheter material and systems, differences between reusable and one-time, or single-use catheters, the cost benefit of doing IC, and the infectious benefit.

International urology and nephrology. 2016 Mar 08 [Epub ahead of print]

Eliza Lamin and Diane K Newman

Penn Center for Continence and Pelvic Health, Division of Urology, Penn Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 34th and Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA., Penn Center for Continence and Pelvic Health, Division of Urology, Penn Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 34th and Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

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