What are the contraindications for use of intermittent catheterization in urinary incontinence treatment?

Updated: Jan 22, 2021
  • Author: Sandip P Vasavada, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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In general, routine use of long-term suppressive therapy with antibiotics in patients with long-term clean intermittent catheterization is not recommended. The use of long-term suppressive antibiotic therapy in people regularly using clean intermittent catheterization is undesirable because it may result in the emergence of resistant bacterial strains.

In high-risk populations, such as patients with an internal prosthesis (eg, artificial heart valve, artificial hip) or patients who are immunosuppressed because of age or disease, whether to use antibiotic therapy for asymptomatic bacteriuria depends on individual merits.

For the older population and individuals with an impaired immune system, the sterile technique of intermittent catheterization has been recommended. Older persons are at higher risk than younger people for developing bacteriuria and other complications caused by intermittent catheterization because they do not have a strong defense system against infection. Although the incidence of infection and other complications with sterile versus clean intermittent catheterization is not well established for older patients, sterile intermittent catheterization appears to be the safest method for this high-risk population.

Potential advantages of performing intermittent catheterization include patient autonomy, freedom from indwelling catheter and bags, and unimpeded sexual relations. Potential complications of intermittent catheterization include bladder infection, urethral trauma, urethral inflammation, and stricture.

Concurrent use of anticholinergic therapy maintains acceptable intravesical pressures and also prevents bladder contracture. Studies have demonstrated that long-term use of intermittent catheterization appears to be preferable to indwelling catheterization (ie, urethral catheter, suprapubic tube), with respect to UTIs, renal failure, and the development of stones within the bladder or kidneys.

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