For Men, Catheter Type Makes A Huge Difference In Urinary Infection Risk

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2006-07-02 21:32

The Urinary Catheter

It's one of the things about a hospital stay that men loathe, and that infectious bacteria love: the urinary catheter. Now, a new study shows that a less-unpleasant option for male hospital patients is also a much safer one.

In fact, men whose urine was collected with an external or "condom" catheter during their hospital stay had an 80 percent reduction in the risk of urinary tract infection (UTI) or death as compared with men whose urine was collected with the usual "indwelling" catheter, the research shows. The condom catheters were also far more likely to be seen as comfortable and non-painful.

In the first-ever randomized, controlled trial comparing the two types of catheters, that striking difference in infection and death risk was seen in men who didn't have dementia and didn't need an indwelling catheter for medical reasons. Other men, and all women, should continue to use indwelling catheters, the researchers say.

But since UTIs are the most common kind of infection to strike patients in the hospital and can lead to fevers and prolonged hospital stays, the results may have tremendous implications, say the researchers from the University of Michigan Health System and the VA hospitals in Seattle and Ann Arbor, Mich. They are publishing their results in the July issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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