Impact of hydrophilic catheters on urinary tract infections in people with spinal cord injury: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Apr;94(4):782-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.11.010. Epub 2012 Nov 17.


Objectives: To identify randomized controlled trials comparing the use of hydrophilic and nonhydrophilic catheters for intermittent catheterization (IC) in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI), and to perform a meta-analysis evaluating the occurrence of hematuria and urinary tract infection (UTI).

Data sources: We searched the following electronic databases to identify studies: EMBASE (1991 to August 2011), PubMed (1991 to August 2011), Cochrane Library (no date restriction), China National Knowledge Infrastructure (no date restriction), and the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (no date restriction).

Study selection: Randomized controlled trials, parallel-control, crossover-control, and prospective cohort studies that assessed morbidity associated with the use of hydrophilic catheters and nonhydrophilic catheters in patients after SCI were included.

Data extraction: Data extraction was performed using standardized forms of the Cochrane Collaboration. Methodologic quality was independently assessed by 2 reviewers using the Downs and Black instrument. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for dichotomous data.

Data synthesis: Five studies involving 508 subjects; 462 subjects completed the study and were included in this meta-analysis. There was a significantly lower incidence (OR=.36; 95% CI, 24%-54%; P<.0001) of reported UTIs in the hydrophilic-treated group compared with the nonhydrophilic-treated group. Hematuria was also reported significantly less in the hydrophilic catheter group than in the nonhydrophilic catheter group (OR=.57; 95% CI, 35%-92%; P=.001).

Conclusions: This meta-analysis found UTIs and hematuria less frequently associated with the use of hydrophilic-coated catheters for IC in patients with SCI. These findings support the use of hydrophilic catheters in this patient population.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheters*
  • Equipment Design
  • Hematuria / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Urinary Catheterization / instrumentation*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology*