Complications of chronic indwelling urinary catheters

Paul J Drinka
Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 2006, 7 (6): 388-92
Chronic indwelling catheters are used to manage urinary retention, especially in the presence of urethral obstruction, and to facilitate healing of incontinence-related skin breakdown. These indwelling foreign bodies become coated and sometimes obstructed by biofilm laden with bacteria and struvite crystals. Bacteria invariably colonize the system and may invade the blood stream following trauma or obstruction. Staff should maintain a closed, dependent system to avoid introducing new organisms and be vigilant for the development of obstruction, avoid trauma, and consider chronic catheters and drainage bags to be potential sources of antibiotic-resistant bacteria for secretion containment and when antibiotics are selected for empiric therapy. Suprapubic catheters should be considered when urethral catheters are associated with discomfort or periurethral suppurative complications, especially in males.

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