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Spinal Cord. 2002 Oct;40(10):536-41.

Complications of intermittent catheterization: their prevention and treatment.

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  • 1Department of Urology, University Antwerpen, University Hospital Antwerpen, Belgium.



Literature review to evaluate the complications seen in patients on intermittent catheterization (IC) and intermittent self-catheterization (ISC).


To find the prevalence of most complications seen in patients on IC. To study the prevention and the treatment of these complications.


An international literature review.


Most relevant articles on the subject are reviewed.


Urinary tract infection is the most frequent complication in patients performing IC. Catheterization frequency and the avoidance of bladder overfilling are amongst the most important prevention measures. Asymptomatic bacteriuria does not need to be treated with antibiotics. Long-term antibacterial prevention does seem to bear a risk of development of bacterial resistance. Previous treatment with indwelling catheters is a risk factor for chronic infection and urinary sepsis. Prostatitis is more frequently present than often thought. Epididymitis and urethritis are rare. Trauma from catheterization occurs regularly, but lasting effects are more limited. However, the prevalence of urethral strictures and false passages increases with longer use of IC. The use of hydrophilic catheters might be able to lower the urethral complication rate but additional proof through comparative studies is needed. The most important prevention measures are good education of all involved in IC, good patient compliance, the use of a proper material and the application of a good catheterization technique.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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