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Long-term outcomes of urethral catheterisation injuries: a prospective multi-institutional study

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There are no prospective data describing the incidence and spectrum of long-term complications associated with traumatic urethral catheterisation (UC). We prospectively monitored the long-term clinical outcomes and complications of patients with traumatic UC injuries.


A prospective study at two tertiary university hospitals was performed to record all referrals for iatrogenic urethral injuries caused by UC. Long-term follow-up was prospectively maintained by regular outpatient department visits and by monitoring all urological interventions and their outcomes from urinary catheter-related injuries.


The incidence of traumatic UC was 13.4 per 1000 catheters inserted in male patients and 37 iatrogenic urethral injuries were recorded. The mean age was 74 ± 12 years and the mean length of follow-up was 37 ± 3.7 months. Urethral injuries were caused by inflating the catheter anchoring balloon in the urethra (n = 26) or by creating a false passage with the catheter tip (n = 11). In total, 29 patients (78%) developed urethral stricture disease during their follow-up; of which 11 have required at least one urethral dilation and two have required one urethrotomy. Three patients required long-term indwelling suprapubic catheter placement and seven patients opted for a long-term indwelling urethral catheter. There were eight patient mortalities; one of which was due to severe urosepsis resulting from catheter balloon inflation in the urethra.


Catheter-related injuries are associated with significant long-term complications in this vulnerable patient cohort. In future, such injuries may be preventable if the safety profile of the urinary catheter is modified.

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The authors declare that no funding was received for this study.

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Authors and Affiliations



NFD: data collection, data analysis, manuscript writing. NRB: data collection, data analysis. EM: data collection, data analysis. HF: manuscript writing, supervision. RM: project development. GL: project development. MW: manuscript writing, supervision.

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Correspondence to N. F. Davis.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standard.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Davis, N.F., Bhatt, N.R., MacCraith, E. et al. Long-term outcomes of urethral catheterisation injuries: a prospective multi-institutional study. World J Urol 38, 473–480 (2020).

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