Research problem: The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of ultrasound assessment of bladder volume on patient and cost outcomes for patients needing postoperative catheterization.
Research methods: Prospective descriptive and quasi-experimental designs were used with patients having general surgery (N = 50) and patients having orthopaedic surgery (N = 103), respectively. Four outcomes were measured: number of catheterizations over the hospitalization period, infection rates, cost, and patient and provider satisfaction.
Results: Accuracy of the technology ranged from .76 to .97 (p = .01). Catheterizations were avoided in 38% (in the "Due to Void" category) and in 81% (in the "Void with Residual" category) of patients in the general surgery group. Patients in the orthopaedic surgery group having ultrasound experienced 1.68 and the standard catheterization group, 1.96 catheterizations, throughout hospitalization. This difference was not statistically significant. UTI rates from admission to 30 days after discharge were 4% and 13% of patients in the ultrasound and standard orthopaedic groups, respectively, and 17% of patients in the general surgical population. Based on acquisition catheter cost, approximately 3 years of ultrasound machine use would be needed to recover the acquisition cost for each machine. The satisfaction rate with the technology was 93% of patients and 97% of nurses. In postoperative patients, bedside bladder ultrasound is accurate, is effective in decreasing numbers of catheterizations, reduces cost over time, and provides high patient and provider satisfaction.