Clean intermittent catheterisation — what is it and what are the benefits?

Today, clean intermittent catheterisation is the “gold standard” in solving problems with bladder emptying. They can be caused by spinal cord injuries, diseases such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis or congenital conditions such as spina bifida.

What is clean intermittent catheterisation?

Urinary catheterisation is a procedure of emptying the bladder using a tube, i.e. a catheter, in cases in which it is not possible to empty the bladder naturally. There are two main approaches to catheterisation — permanent and intermittent catheterisation. In case of permanent catheterisation, the catheter, once introduced into the bladder, is used without interruption for up to several weeks.

Intermittent catheterisation is performed daily, 4-6 times, using non-reusable catheters that are removed immediately after emptying the bladder.

For this reason, it is called intermittent — occasional catheterisation. If the patients who have difficulties with their bladder perform it themselves, then it is also called self-catheterisation. For this procedure to be considered clean, it is necessary to meet hygiene requirements.

In particular, it is important that you wash your hands thoroughly before the catheterisation process in order to avoid possible contamination of the catheter tube.

What are the benefits of intermittent self-catheterisation?

Urinary tract infections are the main medical complication associated with the use



of catheters. However, the risk of these infections is significantly higher with the use of permanent catheters (so-called Foley catheters) than with the use of intermittent catheters.

The risk of inflammation increases with each day of the use of the permanent catheter, which is why professionals advise avoiding them and using intermittent catheters when possible.

The intermittent technique has also been proven safe for use and useful in reducing problems with vesicoureteral reflux — returning of urine to the kidneys, which can have serious consequences such as infections and kidney damage.

The advantage of intermittent catheterisation is that it mimics the “natural” rhythm of urination and the person does not need to have a catheter tube in the bladder all the time.

The intermittent catheterisation procedure can be carried out at home or at another suitable place.

In addition, if you perform this procedure independently (self-catheterisation), you also have a higher level of independence and control over the urination process. This can ultimately have a significant positive effect on your quality of life.

In addition, the self-catheterisation procedure is quick and simple, so even children can learn to perform it independently.



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