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Short-term urinary catheters and their risks: an integrated systematic review

02 November 2020
Volume 25 · Issue 11


This thematic review was part of a bigger literature review into the effects of short-term urinary catheters on patients who are discharged home from an acute hospital. This integrated review examined the risks associated with short-term urinary catheters. The MEDLINE, British Nursing Index and CINAHL databases were searched for studies published between 2013 and 2018 that researched the effects of short-term urinary catheters on patients. Twelve research studies were included, which showed the presence of short-term indwelling urinary catheters increased the risk of infection, length of hospital stay and mortality rates. Short-term urinary catheters should be strictly monitored and removed as soon as they are not required.

Urinary catheter (UC) insertion is an important part of the management of several medical and surgical conditions. Some 15-25% of patients admitted to hospital have UCs inserted at some point (Saint and Chenoweth, 2003; Schumm and Lam, 2008; Bootsma et al, 2013; Loveday et al, 2014). Evidence suggests that 43.9-54% of these patients are given UCs inappropriately (Gokula et al, 2004; Holroyd-Leduc et al, 2005; Hazelett et al, 2006; Bootsma et al, 2013).

The longer a UC remains in the bladder the higher the risk of the patient developing bacterial infections (Majumder et al, 2014). A UC should therefore be inserted as a last resort after all alternatives have been exhausted, and removed as soon as possible (Pratt et al, 2007; Loveday et al, 2014; Royal College of Nursing (RCN), 2019).

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