The Risks of Reusing Catheters BP

As in other cases with reusing single-use devices, reusing catheters that have already been used once or multiple times comes with risks and dangers to health and safety for any individual. Sterile catheters are classified as single-use devices (SUD). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that a single-use device, also referred to as a disposable device, can be defined as a device intended for use on one patient during a single procedure. This device is not intended to be reprocessed (meaning cleaned, disinfected/sterilized) and used again. The labeling for a single-use device may or may not identify the device as single use or disposable and does not include instructions for reprocessing. Despite this information from the FDA, there are still multiple cases of catheters and other SUDs being reused. Especially when regarding patients that receive their care from home and outside of a hospital, it is not hard to imagine how single-use medical devices are not sterilized to adequate standards after reuse.

Reuse of SUDs involves regulatory, economic, medical, ethical, and legal troubles and has been a highly controversial topic for over two decades. In the case of catheters and why there are risks to reusing these devices, there are many crevices in which harmful bacteria can attach to and manifest, which could occur if the device has been reused and not properly cleaned. Depending on the SUD and how many times it has been reused, the product can become less effective or damaged after reprocessing as well. There is evidence from studies that even after careful and professional-level cleanings of catheters, these single-use devices are not always risk- and infection-free.

In one simulation study, catheters that had been deliberately contaminated were then reprocessed (sterilized) and reused and then tested for residual viruses via cell cultures and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). While testing, enterovirus was cultured from one (10%) of the catheters, but no less than six (60%) of the samples were enterovirus PCR positive and one (10%) contained detectable adenovirus DNA. This study was performed with professional and rigorous cleaning of the catheters before virus testing was commenced, and viruses were still found in the catheters. Based on this information, even if catheters are cleaned thoroughly after use and reused again, there is a still a real risk of infection to the patient. Some individuals believe that single-use devices are labeled for single use so that manufacturers of SUDs can maintain their profit margin and avoid liability. However, other individuals that are against reprocessing of SUDs argue that the risks outweigh the benefits and that research has not proven reprocessing to be safe.

When it comes to most everyday products that are used, disposable and usually one-time use products are thrown out without much thought from the average individual. While recognizing the different levels of cost and safety associated with everyday products, the same amount of responsibility of disposing should also be said for products such as catheters that are labeled as single-use. While usually more expensive than average daily products, catheters and other medical devices pertain to the well-being of patients and the public. Even if sterility can be guaranteed in the case of catheters, bacteria and residue may still remain on catheters that have already been used. Therefore, catheters should be disposed and taken care of properly to avoid any possible risks and/ or infections.


D.S. Luijt. “Risk of infection by reprocessed and resterilized virus-contaminated catheters; an in-vitro study,” European Heart Journal (March 1, 2001).
Dunn, D. “Reprocessing single-use devices–the ethical dilemma,” The National Center for Biotechnology Information (May 2002).
“Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008).
“Labeling Recommendations for Single-Use Devices Reprocessed by Third Parties and Hospitals,” Food and Drug Administration (July 30, 2001).

Coloplast Catheters

coloplast cathetersColoplast is a company that creates urinary catheters along with other urological medical devices. Coloplast Catheters offers a wide variety of urological care such as SpeediCath Flex coude, SpeediCath Compact Set, SpeediCath Compact Female, SpeediCath Compact Male, SpeediCath, Self-Cath, Self-Cath Plus, and Self-Cath Closed System. Coloplast catheters understands the stigma that may or may not come with some of the medical conditions, and because of this, they use a technique they call “intimate healthcare”.  They take into consideration each patient’s personal medical conditions and develops solutions for their specific needs. By listening to their patient’s needs, they are able to create products that help many of their patients. Coloplast aims to greatly help the people using their products. They try to give as much information on the products so that their patients can understand what they are using and how it is affecting them and their lives. Basically, Coloplast wants you to be happy, healthy and returning hope to your life.

We can answer any questions you have regarding this product or other products, just give us a call at (888) 726-5066.

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SpeediCath Flex Coude is a soft catheter with a flexible tip, dry-sleeve and soft squeeze grip. The goal of this product is to make catheterization easier for the user. The flexible tip helps the catheter through the male urethra. The soft squeeze grip helps guide the flexible tip of the catheter where it needs to go. The reason the dry-sleeve is helpful is because it means you don’t have to touch the tube to insert the catheter.

colorplast cathetersSpeediCath Compact Set is all-in-one discreet catheter and bag solution that is ready to use immediately. There is nothing else like it on the market. It has been rated the best catheter set on the market by 90 percent of healthcare professionals. This catheter can easily be held in a pocket, purse, or handbag. SpeediCath Compact Set comes in male and female versions and is good for use in and out of your home. It has a hydrophilic coating that helps with smooth catheterization.

SpeediCath Compact Female is the female version of the SpeediCath Compact Set. It is designed to suit the female body. The device is the size of a lipstick. This is the most preferred catheter for women. This catheter has an easy-grip handle which allows for no touch insertion and more control. SpeediCath Compact Male is the male version of the SpeediCath Compact Set. It is half the size of the standard intermittent catheters and has a discreet design. Its compact design makes the catheter convenient to carry and dispose. Just like the female version of this product, it has a hydrophilic coating and polished eyelets which is meant to reduce the amount of friction and urethral damage and increase the amount of comfort.

SpeediCath is an instantly ready to use Coloplast catheters, with a simple design for everyday use. The hydrophilic coating and the polished eyelets helps with smooth catheterization. This specific catheter has been proven to be reliable for fifteen years. It is known to be quick and easy to use. It is available in a wide range of sizes to suit men, women and children.

Self-Cath are catheters designed for self-catheterization. There are a variety of designs such as: straight tip, female, soft, Tapered Tip Coude with Guide Stripe, and Olive Tip Coude with Guide Stripe. Each catheter is made with PVC and has smooth fire polished eyelets that help the patient to be more comfortable while using the medical device.

Self-Cath Plus also have a variety of options for intermittent catheters, which are not made with natural rubber latex. These a single use catheters made for self-catheterization. They are made to be inserted smoothly with hydrophilic coating.

Self-Cath Closed System are single use Coloplast catheters for self-catheterization, with a wide variety of options for intermittent self-catheterization. They are not made with natural rubber latex. The catheter has a siliconized surface for smooth insertion and a collection bag for urine. The catheter is made with PVC so the patient will be more comfortable during the process of self-catheterization.

A general way to clean any type of Coloplast catheter is to either wash the catheter with soap and water, or an antiseptic solution. Rinse the inside and the outside of the catheter. Then, dry the catheter with a towel and place it on a clean towel to let it completely dry. Lastly, once the catheter is dry, place it in a plastic bag for safe keeping.


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