Innovation in Catheters

For many, the idea of catheterization can incur a feeling of fright of being a strange thing, mainly if you are new to it. But it won't be long before the equipment becomes a part of your everyday life. Anyone new to this terminology must know the essential aspects of catheterization.

This article will discuss the different types of catheters, their benefits, and when used.

What Is A Catheter?

Before we go into the details of the different types of catheters, let's have a quick overview of what a catheter is.

It is a medical device that is a hollow and thin tube inserted in the abdomen through a small opening or the urethra so the urine can be drained from the bladder. The catheters, for males, have a condomshaped design. It can be slipped over the penis instead of inserted into the body.

When Are Catheters Used?

A wide array of diagnoses can result in a patient's need for a catheter. At times a patient can require catheterization only during their hospitalization. But in case of bladder dysfunction or the individual's inability to control their bladder, they can be advised to use catheters permanently. Advice for catheterization can be done as a solution for bladder incontinence (inability to control the bladder) or bladder retention (failure to empty the bladder).

Different Types Of Catheters

Typically, three types of equipment can be categorized – in dwelling catheters, external catheters, and intermittent catheters. Furthermore, catheters are available in different shaped tips, determined by the patient's needs and materials.

Before we go into the other details based on the tips and materials, let's see the three types of catheters.

1. Interdwelling Catheters

Interdwelling catheters can be categorized into Foley catheters and Suprapubic catheters based on their usage. The speciality of interdwelling catheters is that they are designed in a way so they can stay inside the body and drain the bladder continually. Professionals generally help insert the indwelling catheter, which can be used long-term. However, they need to be changed every month.

The difference between the two types of indwelling catheters is Foley catheters are used when it needs to be inserted through the urethra.

Suprapubic Catheters are inserted into the patient through a small abdominal opening.

2. External Catheters

Men who suffer from incontinence are recommended to use external catheters, also known as condom catheters. No tube is inserted. Instead, a condom-like device is worn over the penis. A tube leads from the device to a drainage bag, where the urine can be stored. The external catheter needs to be replaced every day. Typically it is recommended for patients who have dementia.

3. Intermittent Catheters

At times a patient might need a catheter for a short term, like after surgery, to empty the bladders. These catheters are often called in-and-out catheters since they need to be removed once the bladder is emptied. In most cases, a caregiver at home or the patient is taught to apply the catheter themselves. The process needs a bit of practice and assistance. The application is made through the lower abdomen or the urethra hole. Typically intermittent catheters are inserted and removed about five times a day.

Different Types Of Intermittent Catheters

Depending on the patient's requirement, the doctor can recommend any of the three types of intermittent catheters.

1. Straight Catheters

This is the most standard catheter and features the original technology. New advancements are added to the traditional type of catheter, offering convenience and comfort, like drainage eyelets that are polished for smoother insertion and withdrawal. However, the straight catheters do not have any coats. It requires additional lubrication. The patient can use a tube of lubricating jelly or a single-use lubrication package for the insertion.

Depending on the make, there can be a single to four drainage eyelets for draining the bladder.

The other end of the tube generally has a funnel that the patient can use to direct the urine flow. However, quite a few prefer to attach the funnel to a drain bag for comfort.

2. Hydrophilic Intermittent Catheters

The hydrophilic coating sets them apart from straight intermittent catheters. The layer acts as a lubricant, activated once it comes in contact with water. The catheter, as a result, becomes slippery when wet, and the coating is bonded on the surface.

The lubrication reduces friction when inserted, thus making the catheterization comfortable.

In most hydrophilic catheters, there is a sterile water packet; when the catheter package is opened with a bit of pressure, this water packet bursts and is soaked by the catheter, activating the lubrication.

It is often used at home, work, or while traveling because of its ease of use.

3. Closed System Catheters

It is a pre-lubricated catheter placed inside a collection bag that is already sterilized, thus offering a selfcontained environment. The size of the collection bag can vary, but the bags are metered so that the patient or caregiver can measure the output.

The product's benefit is that it is one-piece equipment that allows it to be used anywhere and selfcaught in privacy.

The closed-system facility also reduces the risk of bladder infection or UTI since it is touch-free. In addition, it has a pre-lubricated cover which is called the introducer tip. This allows the catheter to pass the highest concentration of bacteria while reducing the pushing of pathogens into the urethra and bladder. Also, most closed system catheters have a kit that includes gloves, gauze, underpads, disinfecting wipes, and a refuse bag to allow your privacy.

It is one of the most used catheters among the patients who need to travel and those in a wheelchair.

Different Types Of Tips & Materials

Catheters generally come in two different tips, the Coudé tip, and the Straight Tip. While most prefer the straight tip, the coudé tip sometimes works better when a patient has trouble inserting a straight tip. This is because the courdé tip has a curve at the insertion end.

Many male patients suffering from an enlarged prostate or other urethral blockage require a coude catheter.

Different materials are used to make catheters. Depending on a patient's requirement, they can select the material. For instance, if someone is looking for a flexible catheter, they can opt for latex, while a rigid catheter can be found with one made of vinyl.

Other materials they may include are:

- Antibacterial coating

- DEHP-free

- Latex-free

- Plastic, PVC, or vinyl

- Red rubber latex

- Silicone

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