Intermittent versus indwelling urinary catheterisation in hip surgery patients: a randomised controlled trial with cost-effectiveness analysis

Int J Nurs Stud. 2013 Dec;50(12):1589-98. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2013.05.007. Epub 2013 Jun 12.


Background: Hip surgery is associated with the risk of postoperative urinary retention. To avoid urinary retention hip surgery patients undergo urinary catheterisation. Urinary catheterisation, however, is associated with increased risk for urinary tract infection (UTI). At present, there is limited evidence for whether intermittent or indwelling urinary catheterisation is the preferred choice for short-term bladder drainage in patients undergoing hip surgery.

Objectives: The aim of the study was to investigate differences between intermittent and indwelling urinary catheterisation in hip surgery patients in relation to nosocomial UTI and cost-effectiveness.

Design: Randomised controlled trial with cost-effectiveness analysis.

Setting: The study was carried out at an orthopaedic department at a Swedish University Hospital.

Methods: One hundred and seventy hip surgery patients (patients with fractures or with osteoarthritis) were randomly allocated to either intermittent or indwelling urinary catheterisation. Data collection took place at four time points: during stay in hospital, at discharge and at 4 weeks and 4 months after discharge.

Results: Eighteen patients contracted nosocomial UTIs, 8 in the intermittent catheterisation group and 10 in the indwelling catheterisation group (absolute difference 2.4%, 95% CI -6.9-11.6%) The patients in the intermittent catheterisation group were more often catheterised (p<0.001) and required more bladder scans (p<0.001) but regained normal bladder function sooner than the patients in the indwelling catheterisation group (p<0.001). Fourteen percent of the patients in the intermittent group did not need any catheterisation. Cost-effectiveness was similar between the indwelling and intermittent urinary catheterisation methods.

Conclusions: Both indwelling and intermittent methods could be appropriate in clinical practice. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages but by not using routine indwelling catheterisation, unnecessary catheterisations might be avoided in this patient group.

Keywords: Cost-effectiveness; Hip arthroplasty; Hip fractures; Indwelling catheterisation; Intermittent catheterisation; Randomised controlled trial.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Hip / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Sweden
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Catheterization / adverse effects
  • Urinary Catheterization / economics
  • Urinary Catheterization / methods*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control