Catheter market moving toward single-use catheters and self-catheterization: report

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Urinary catheters across the medical spectrum are being changed more frequently and are increasingly antimicrobial-coated in order to cut down on cost and infections, a new market study shows.

The high number of aging U.S. citizens is expected to require a larger number of urological catheters, according to a report by Global Industry Analysts Inc. The report looked at hospitals, nursing homes and homecare settings in international regions, such as Japan, Latin America and Europe, all of which have aging populations similar to the United States. Long-term care facilities have been under pressure to reduce the length of time a catheter is kept in a resident, and to have toileting protocols that let a resident avoid a catheter when possible.

In an effort to avoid catheterization-associated urinary tract infections, international care providers said they are beginning to switch from indwelling catheters to single-use and self-catheterization, which allows patients to insert catheters at their homes. Both options shorten hospitalization time, lower infection rates and reduce cost.

In addition to reflecting worldwide insertion trends, the report analyzed catheter materials. For instance, researchers are developing antimicrobial coatings that prevent biofilm and crust formations. Biocompatible materials, such as silicone and polymer mixes, are replacing latex. The new catheter compositions make the insertion process easier and lessen resident pain.