Glossary Entry: Intermittent Catheter


Definition: An intermittent catheter is a slender, flexible tube used to drain urine from the bladder. It is commonly used by individuals who have difficulty emptying their bladder on their own due to medical conditions such as spinal cord injury or urinary retention.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: Intermittent catheters come in various lengths, diameters, and materials, including straight and curved tip catheters. Some catheters are pre-lubricated for ease of insertion, while others require the use of a lubricating gel.


Common Uses: Intermittent catheters are used in scenarios where regular urine drainage is necessary, such as in cases of urinary retention, neurogenic bladder, or after certain surgeries.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: To correctly use an intermittent catheter, it is important to follow proper sterile technique and lubricate the tip of the catheter before insertion. The Seldinger technique may be used to guide the catheter into the bladder through the urethra.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential risks associated with intermittent catheterization include urinary tract infections, urethral trauma, and introduction of bacteria into the bladder.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: Proper hygiene and cleaning of the catheter before and after each use is essential to prevent infections.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Accessories such as drainage bags and lubricating gels are often used alongside intermittent catheters.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Modern intermittent catheters may feature hydrophilic coatings for easier insertion and antimicrobial materials to reduce the risk of infections.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: Intermittent catheters are medical devices regulated by health authorities to ensure their safety and effectiveness.