Clean intermittent catheterization: Single use vs. reuse
Introduction: Intermittent catheterization (IC) is one of the fundamental aspects of managing patients with chronic urinary retention. Although reuse of catheters has been allowed to be chosen as the first option for IC, the optimal method of IC and the type of catheter has been a long-standing debate. We conducted a literature review regarding risk of urinary tract infection (UTI) and the costs associated with different methods and catheters.
Methods: A MEDLINE search via PubMed, EMBASE, and EBSCO host was conducted in March 2018. The date of publication was limited to 2014 to present/current.
Results: Single use of catheters (hydrophilic-coated [HC] or uncoated [UC]) was considered to impose a lower risk of UTI in all studies, except in one study that included children, but did not test their dexterity to handle HC catheters. Cost-effectiveness of single-use catheters was confirmed by all studies during this period.
Conclusions: Reuse of catheters exposes the patient to a plethora of possible cleaning techniques and duration of catheter use. Patient adherence to cleaning method cannot be predicted and this further amplifies the risk of complications and their burden on the healthcare system. We recommend a patient-centred approach to consider HC catheters as the first option, while considering the patient’s/caregiver’s ability to accommodate the usage technique. Single-use UC catheters, and finally reuse of catheters are considered as next options if HC catheters are found difficult to handle (especially in children doing self-catheterization). Larger trials investigating this matter are required.
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