Acute urinary retention. Comparison of suprapubic and urethral catheterisation

Br J Urol. 1992 Aug;70(2):149-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410x.1992.tb15693.x.


A total of 86 consecutive patients who presented to the accident and emergency department with acute urinary retention due to prostatomegaly required catheterisation; 56 received suprapubic catheters and 30 were catheterised urethrally. Both groups were followed up for 3 years. Of the 30 patients catheterised urethrally, 12 (40%) developed urinary tract infections compared with 10 (18%) urinary tract infections in the 56 patients catheterised suprapubically. Five patients (17%) in the urethral group developed urethral strictures with no strictures in the suprapubic group. Two patients catheterised urethrally developed epididymo-orchitis and 1 developed septicaemia. None of the patients with suprapubic catheters developed these complications. Furthermore, 16 patients catheterised suprapubically underwent successful trial clamping of their catheter, whereas 7 patients required recatheterisation following removal of their urethral catheters. We recommend that the use of suprapubic catheters should become the preferred initial treatment for acute urinary retention.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Diseases / complications
  • Urethra
  • Urinary Bladder
  • Urinary Catheterization / methods*
  • Urinary Retention / etiology
  • Urinary Retention / therapy*