Do You Know The Safety Rules for Urinary Tract Catheters?

Back in 2010, the IDSA’s expert board for the US has provided a new set of rules regarding the optimal and safe usage of catheters in an attempt to minimize potential urinary tract infections associated with this device. A catheter is an excellent solution for incontinence issues, but they also imply risks if they not utilized correctly or when the type of catheter chosen is incompatible with the condition.

While mostly targeting doctors, patients can also learn a bit of useful info from our short article and we promise that respecting these guidelines will minimize the risk of developing such infections. It is necessary to keep in mind that our guide refers mostly to indwelling catheters and intrauretal inserts, because these intrusive medical instruments present the highest risks of developing infections along the urinary tract.

Why are doctors so concerned with UTI management?

The shortest answer to this question comprises of the simple fact that the urinary tract bacteriuria had developed as a result of indwelling catheter usage, is actually one of the most frequently encountered infections in the world. Now, we’re not saying that catheters will automatically determine an infection to occur or that they are among the mandatory medical equipment. Far from it!

However, there are numerous cases in which a patient would benefit more from an alternative, less invasive solution such as the external catheters or a urine absorption method. What’s even worse is that in some situations, the catheters are left inside for much longer than they are required, are inserted inappropriately, the devices are improperly sterilized or of poor quality. The human urinary tract is very susceptible to bacterial infections, particularly when the body is recovering from a trauma or operation.

How do they plan to manage the number of UTI cases?

Doctor Thomas M. Hooton – one of the experts on the IDSA board that issued the warnings – affirms that the number of incidences could be substantially reduced by limiting the usage to patients for whom the insertion of indwelling catheters constitutes the singular available option. In addition, he considers that a timely removal of the catheter is an excellent way to prevent UTI cases.

Dr. Hooton has also stated that a proper education of the auxiliary medical staff in conjunction with an effective electronic order system would help achieve the goal of having a minimum 90% – 95% of catheter prescription and insertion procedures performed by specialized physicians.

While we do not doubt that some of the registered medical staff can perform the catheter insertion or have sufficient experience to decide whether an indwelling device is mandatory; we have to agree with Dr. Hooton on this one.

When are the indwelling catheters mandatory?

The guidelines regarding the recommended usage of indwelling catheterization comprises of situations such as:

  • Therapy proves ineffective and surgical procedures are contraindicated in managing the increasing the retention of urine.
  • Patients with terminal-state conditions for which the non-invasive methods have failed to produce results and when a collection device does not constitute a suitable alternative.
  • Patients with a critical condition in which the correct diagnosis depends on accurately tracking the urine output.
  • Patients with the inability of collecting urine, such as in the case of an extensive surgical procedure which requires general anesthesia.

The board advises the public that utilizing indwelling catheterization to manage incontinence is not recommended. The only exception to this guideline comprises of situations when the entirety of alternative approaches failed to produce results and the patient has specifically requested indwelling catheterization. While you may doubt that the hazards related to indwelling catheterization are real – especially if you have used one for several years without experiencing any unpleasant issues – let me tell you that all these warnings have been issued after extensive studies and are not the result of paranoia.

What else can you do to minimize the risk?

From the hospitalized patient’s perspective, not a lot of us consider that the indwelling catheterization is performed by the medical staff. However, before checking in, you can ask for information regarding their procedures and policies. For example, try to find out about the education and specialization of the personnel in charge of catheter insertion, how the catheters are maintained and discontinued, how often they are replaced, etc.

All in all, it is safe to conclude that the best way to prevent potential infections comprises of limiting the disconnects of the instrument’s junction, as well as maintaining the drainage bag and the connection hose underneath the bladder’s level.



Chad is a health conscious blogger who loves to read up on anything and everything health. Whether he has health questions needed to be answered, he enjoys reading on sites such as Ion My Health.

Blogger Chad

Blogger Chad loves to create content on health topics. Eats junk food though he hates it. Will love to convert the 1 pack into 6 packs soon.

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