Novel Catheter May Prevent Patient Injuries

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ATLANTA—Researchers have developed a novel catheter that they say can cut down on the number of catheter-related injuries, according to a presentation at the American Urological Association 2012 annual meeting.

Placement of a urinary catheter can result in significant urethral injury when the catheter retention balloon is inadvertently inflated within the urethra rather than the bladder, explained urologist David Aaronson, MD, of Safe Medical Devices, LLC, which is developing the new device. Incorrect catheter administration can lead to bleeding, pain, and, frequently, an extended hospital stay.

Dr. Aaronson explained that he and his collaborators altered the standard catheter model through the addition of a safety balloon. The researchers presented findings of a study showing that upon incorrect inflation within the urethra, the safety balloon in the new catheter's prototype began to visibly expand immediately upon filling, alerting the practitioner and avoiding injury. Furthermore, compared with the standard catheter, mean balloon-port pressure was 50% lower in the prototype upon intraurethral balloon inflation, meaning less injury to the patient.

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