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Br J Nurs. 2013 Jun 13-26;22(11):650, 652-4.

Catheter valves: a welcome alternative to leg bags.

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Department of Postgraduate Research, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College London.


Catheterisation is commonly used to manage long-term bladder drainage. If intermittent catheterisation is not possible an indwelling urethral or suprapubic catheter will be used. There are a choice of drainage systems for use with indwelling urinary catheters including bed bags, link systems and catheter valves. Catheter valves are not suitable for everybody and patient assessment is vital: only patients with the cognitive ability and manual dexterity to operate a valve should be offered this option for bladder drainage. Catheter valves offer a number of advantages over drainage bags including improved privacy and dignity, prevention of bladder-neck trauma, reduced catheter encrustation and maintenance of normal detrusor muscle function. A number of catheter valves are available, including the EZ-Flow valve, and patient choice is important when selecting an appropriate product.

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