EAU edition:15 location:Brussels date:12-15 April 2000
INTRODUCTION: Due to the different health insurance policies throughout Europe, patients are forced to reuse the catheters when performing clean intermittent catheterization (CIC). We have compared the physical qualities and the antimicrobial effects of 2 methods of reusing catheters: microwaves and storing the catheters in a 70% alcohol solution.
MATERIAL & METHODS: Two types of catheters (PVC catheter with Ergothan® top and prelubrified catheter), normally intended for single use were submitted to the effect of a microwave oven (750 W Whirlpool M220 with rotating plate) and preservation in a 70% alcohol solution. The studies were performed during different time durations. A recipient of water was placed in the oven to spread the microwaves and to absorb the heat and the catheters were placed in a Ziploc® bag. The physical qualities of the catheters were evaluated by using the technique of differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The antimicrobial effect of the methods was evaluated after grafting the catheters with pathogenic E. coli, P. aeruginosa or S. aureus strains.
RESULTS: Microwaves up to 12 minutes at 750W caused only minimal changes in the physical qualities. However, there was only an antimicrobial effect of the microwaves on the E. coli and not on P. aeruginosa or S. aureus. If the catheter remained longer than 45 minutes in a 70% alcohol solution, the physical qualities of the catheter changed considerably (PVC catheter with Ergothan® top much less than the prelubrified catheter). However, there was a total antimicrobial effect after 5 minutes of immersion in the 70% alcohol solution on E. coli, P. aeruginosa and S. aureus in both catheters.
CONCLUSION: It should be advised to patients on CIC to use a sterile packed and not previously used PVC catheter. However, our studies have shown that immersing the catheter in a 70% alcohol solution during 5 minutes can effectively desinfect the catheter without jeopardising the physical qualities. Thereafter, the catheters should be placed in a Ziploc® bag without being rinsed under water, so the few drops of alcohol will cause alcohol vapours within the closed plastic bag.