Intermittent catheterization in patients with traumatic spinal cord injury: obstacles, worries, level of satisfaction

Spinal Cord. 2014 Nov;52(11):826-30. doi: 10.1038/sc.2014.134. Epub 2014 Aug 12.


Objectives: The aim of this study is to examine the obstacles in people with traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) face performing intermittent catheterization (IC), also their worries and level of satisfaction.

Methods: Two hundred sixty-nine patients performing IC for at least 3 months were asked to fill-out a questionnaire about their opinions on IC.

Results: In total, 69.5% of patients performed IC themselves, 10.4% had performed by their mothers, 7.8% by another caregiver and 7.4% by their spouse. For the 72 (26%) patients unable to apply IC, reasons were insufficient hand function (56.1%), being unable to sit appropriately (35.4%) and spasticity (8.5%). In all, 70% of male patients had insufficient hand function, 20% could not sit and 10% had spasticity while 56.3% of female patients could not sit, 37.5% had insufficient hand function and 63% had spasticity. Difference between sexes was found to be statistically significant (P<0.05). Worries patients had when starting IC were fear of being dependent on IC (50.2%), accidentally injuring self (43.8%), embarrassment (43.2%), causing an infection (40.2%), bleeding (32.7%), fear of feeling pain (30.2%) and hygiene (24.7%). More women felt embarrassment; other items were similar in both sexes. In all, 46.9% of patients had urinary incontinence in intervals.

Conclusion: In total, 69.5% of patients performed IC themselves. Men's most common obstacle was insufficient hand function while women's was being unable to sit appropriately. Patients' most common worries were being dependent on IC for life. In all, 46.9% had incontinence in intervals; 47.9% said IC improved their life quality; and 97.4% preferred IC over continuous catheterization.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catheterization / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic / complications*
  • Stress Disorders, Traumatic / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urinary Bladder, Neurogenic* / etiology
  • Urinary Bladder, Neurogenic* / psychology
  • Urinary Bladder, Neurogenic* / therapy
  • Urinary Catheterization / adverse effects*
  • Visual Analog Scale