Catheter maintenance
to reduce the risk of cauti

The Risk of Catheter Encrustation or CAUTI

Urinary catheters are used for the treatment of patients with incontinence or chronic obstruction. Nevertheless, urinary catheterisation is not free of complications. Common side effects associated with indwelling catheters are obstruction (i.e. caused by encrustation) or CAUTI, which cause frequent catheter changes and thus involve increased risks.1)

Bacteria are able to enter the catheter and adhere to the catheter surface and drainage bag.2) They quickly develop colonies as well as biofilm.3)

Catheter encrustation occurs when magnesium struvite crystals and calcium phosphate deposits precipitate and agglomerate onto the surface catheter and its biofilm.2,4) Encrustation reaches clinical significance when it obstructs the urine outflow through the catheter. 

Catheter Maintenance

In order to extend the catheter life, catheter maintenance solutions have been developed to reduce blocking of catheters by irrigation.2) Different catheter maintenance solutions are available on prescription such as saline, solutions with citric acid, or solutions with antimicrobials like Polihexanide. Catheter maintenance solutions can be used as part of a management plan to prevent the development of catheter-associated complications and frequent catheter changes by reducing the risk of encrustation and trauma during catheter removal.

Regular catheter maintenance can help avoid any risk of bacterial colonisation, prevent or remove encrustation and stop debris formation.


1) Canterbury District Health Board. Catheter care guidelines. 2013.

2) NHS. CNT 012 Trouble shooting and catheter maintenance solutions. 2013.

3) The Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society. Care and management of patients with urinary catheters: a clinical resource guide 2016; p. 1-56.

4) CWP. Clinical guideline for the use of a catheter maintenance solution. 2012.