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J Adv Nurs. 2008 Mar;61(6):641-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.04556.x.

Effect of clean intermittent self-catheterization on quality of life: a qualitative study.

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Department of Health, Sports and Science, University of Glamorgan, Wales, UK.



This paper is a report of a study to describe the experience of people carrying out clean intermittent self-catheterization and the impact on their quality of life.


Clean intermittent self-catheterization is a recommended treatment for people experiencing urinary voiding difficulties. The majority of the literature to date has focused on biomedical issues such as complication rates and use of different catheters.


A qualitative approach was used based on grounded theory. Fifteen users (eight men and seven women) of intermittent self-catheterization took part in semi-structured interviews during 2006. Ages ranged from 33 to 81 years (median 65 years). Reasons for self-catheterization included multiple sclerosis, urethral stricture and high residual volumes. Thematic analysis was used to develop hypotheses about the causes and consequences of the core category 'quality of life'.


The core category consisted of two subcategories of positive and negative impacts. Positive impacts were related to improvement in lower urinary tract symptoms, whereas the negative impacts resulted from the practical difficulties encountered, and the psychological and cultural context of worry and stigma. The factors influencing variations in quality of life impacts were sex, lifestyle, frequency and duration of carrying out self-catheterization, technical difficulties, type of catheter, co-morbidities and individual predispositions.


The model has the potential to help professionals to identify the factors likely to influence response to clean intermittent self-catheterization, and could be used as a tool to help identify those who may have difficulty complying with the treatment or to aid advice-giving on situations that may cause difficulties.

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