Review of Intermittent Catheterization and Current Best Practices

Diane K. Newman, MSN, ANP-BC, CRNP, FAAN, BCIA-PMDB; Margaret M. Willson, MSN, RN CWOCN


Urol Nurs. 2011;31(1) 

In This Article

Management of Bladder Emptying

The preferred long-term management of neurogenic bladder is intermittent self-catheterization performed by the patient or a care-giver. The goal of neurogenic bladder management is to allow the bladder to store a reasonable volume of urine at low pressure and empty the bladder at appropriate time intervals. Long-term use of intermittent catheterization is preferable to an indwelling urinary catheter because intermittent catheterization has a lower risk of infection and other complications (Newman & Wein, 2009). Long-term intermittent self-catheterization is safe and well accepted. However, an early dropout rate of about 20% has been described in children and adolescents (Pohl et al., 2002), so good support, professional instruction on catheterization technique and periodic follow up is necessary to obtain and maintain patient compliance. According to Clayton, Brock, and Joseph (2010), children can independently perform intermittent self-catheterization between the ages of 8 and 12 years, with girls gaining independence sooner than boys.