What's New: New systematic review and meta-analysis on non-infectious complications of indwelling urethral catheters

Click above for a brief video interview with Drs. Hollingsworth and Krein (Annals subscribers only)

Urinary catheters – tubes inserted into a person’s bladder – are some of the most commonly used medical devices in the world. Urinary catheters can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs) which have been studied extensively. Surprisingly little information, however, is known about the non-infectious harms due to the urinary catheter. University of Michigan researchers, led by John Hollingsworth, MD, therefore conducted the first ever systematic analysis on this topic.

We found that non-infectious catheter-associated complications are exceedingly common. In fact, many of these complications are more common than symptomatic catheter-associated UTIs. Perhaps the most worrisome problem is accidentally removing the catheter with the balloon fully inflated – this can lead to severe and lasting damage to the urinary tract and may even require surgery. Other harms are relatively minor – such as urine leaking around the catheter or seeing blood in the urine.

Our findings indicate that non-infectious catheter-associated complications represent an important target for future patient safety efforts.

Pubmed record and abstract