Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Apr 11;4:CD010322. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010322.pub2.

Indwelling bladder catheterisation as part of intraoperative and postoperative care for caesarean section.

Author information

  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University Hospital, Assiut, Assiut, Egypt, 71511.



Caesarean section (CS) is the most common obstetric surgical procedure, with more than one-third of pregnant women having lower-segment CS. Bladder evacuation is carried out as a preoperative procedure prior to CS. Emerging evidence suggests that omitting the use of urinary catheters during and after CS could reduce the associated increased risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), catheter-associated pain/discomfort to the woman, and could lead to earlier ambulation and a shorter stay in hospital.


To assess the effectiveness and safety of indwelling bladder catheterisation for intraoperative and postoperative care in women undergoing CS.


We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (31 December 2013) and reference lists of retrieved studies.


Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing indwelling bladder catheter versus no catheter or bladder drainage in women undergoing CS (planned or emergency), regardless of the type of anaesthesia used. Quasi-randomised trials, cluster-randomised trials were not eligible for inclusion. Studies presented as abstracts were eligible for inclusion providing there was sufficient information to assess the study design and outcomes.


Two review authors independently assessed studies for eligibility and trial quality, and extracted data. Data were checked for accuracy.


The search retrieved 16 studies (from 17 reports). Ten studies were excluded and one study is awaiting assessment. We included five studies involving 1065 women (1090 recruited). The five included studies were at moderate risk of bias.Data relating to one of our primary outcomes (UTI) was reported in four studies but did not meet our definition of UTI (as prespecified in our protocol). The included studies did not report on our other primary outcome - intraoperative bladder injury (this outcome was not prespecified in our protocol). Two secondary outcomes were not reported in the included studies: need for postoperative analgesia and women's satisfaction. The included studies did provide limited data relating to this review's secondary outcomes. Indwelling bladder catheter versus no catheter - three studies (840 women) Indwelling bladder catheterisation was associated with a reduced incidence of bladder distension (non-prespecified outcome) at the end of the operation (risk ratio (RR) 0.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.00 to 0.35; one study, 420 women) and fewer cases of retention of urine (RR 0.06, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.47; two studies, 420 women) or need for catheterisation (RR 0.03, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.16; three studies 840 participants). In contrast, indwelling bladder catheterisation was associated with a longer time to first voiding (mean difference (MD) 16.81 hours, 95% CI 16.32 to 17.30; one study, 420 women) and more pain or discomfort due to catheterisation (and/or at first voiding) (average RR 10.47, 95% CI 4.71 to 23.25, two studies, 420 women) although high levels of heterogeneity were observed. Similarly, compared to women in the 'no catheter' group, indwelling bladder catheterisation was associated with a longer time to ambulation (MD 4.34 hours, 95% CI 1.37 to 7.31, three studies, 840 women) and a longer stay in hospital (MD 0.62 days, 95% CI 0.15 to 1.10, three studies, 840 women). However, high levels of heterogeneity were observed for these two outcomes and the results should be interpreted with caution.There was no difference in postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) due to uterine atony. There was also no difference in the incidence of UTI (as defined by trialists) between the indwelling bladder catheterisation and no catheterisation groups (two studies, 570 women). However, high levels of heterogeneity were observed for this non-prespecified outcome and results should be considered in this context. Indwelling bladder catheter versus bladder drainage - two studies (225 women)Two studies (225 women) compared the use of an indwelling bladder catheter versus bladder drainage. There was no difference between groups in terms of retention of urine following CS, length of hospital stay or the non-prespecified outcome of UTI (as defined by the trialist).There is some evidence (from one small study involving 50 women), that the need for catheterisation was reduced in the group of women with an indwelling bladder catheter (RR 0.04, 95% CI 0.00 to 0.70) compared to women in the bladder drainage group. Evidence from another small study (involving 175 women) suggests that women who had an indwelling bladder catheter had a longer time to ambulation (MD 0.90, 95% CI 0.25 to 1.55) compared to women who received bladder drainage.


This review includes limited evidence from five RCTs of moderate quality. The review's primary outcomes (bladder injury during operation and UTI), were either not reported or reported in a way not suitable for our analysis. The evidence in this review is based on some secondary outcomes, with heterogeneity present in some of the analyses. There is insufficient evidence to assess the routine use of indwelling bladder catheters in women undergoing CS. There is a need for more rigorous RCTs, with adequate sample sizes, standardised criteria for the diagnosis of UTI and other common outcomes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk