Intermittent catheterization with a hydrophilic-coated catheter delays urinary tract infections in acute spinal cord injury: a prospective, randomized, multicenter trial

PM R. 2011 May;3(5):408-17. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2011.01.001.


Objective: To investigate whether intermittent catheterization (IC) with a hydrophilic-coated catheter delays the onset of the first symptomatic urinary tract infection (UTI) and reduces the number of symptomatic UTIs in patients with acute spinal cord injury (SCI) compared with IC with standard, uncoated catheters.

Design: A prospective, randomized, parallel-group trial.

Setting: Fifteen North American SCI centers. Participants were followed up while in the hospital or rehabilitation unit (institutional period) and up to 3 months after institutional discharge (community period). The maximal study period was 6 months.

Participants: A total of 224 subjects with traumatic SCI of less than 3 months' duration who use IC.

Methods: The participants were randomized within 10 days of starting IC to either single-use hydrophilic-coated (SpeediCath) or polyvinyl chloride uncoated (Conveen) catheters.

Main outcome measurements: The time from the first catheterization to the first antibiotic-treated symptomatic UTI was measured as well as the total number of symptomatic UTIs during the study period.

Results: The time to the first antibiotic-treated symptomatic UTI was significantly delayed in the hydrophilic-coated catheter group compared with the uncoated catheter group. The delay corresponded to a 33% decrease in the daily risk of developing the first symptomatic UTI among participants who used the hydrophilic-coated catheter. In the institutional period, the incidence of antibiotic-treated symptomatic UTIs was reduced by 21% (P < .05) in the hydrophilic-coated catheter group.

Conclusions: The use of a hydrophilic-coated catheter for IC is associated with a delay in the onset of the first antibiotic-treated symptomatic UTI and with a reduction in the incidence of symptomatic UTI in patients with acute SCI during the acute inpatient rehabilitation. Using a hydrophilic-coated catheter could minimize UTI-related complications, treatment costs, and rehabilitation delays in this group of patients, and reduce the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Catheters, Indwelling*
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Hematuria / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Catheterization / methods*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / drug therapy
  • Urinary Tract Infections / etiology*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents