Open Access Research article

The burden of prolonged indwelling catheter after acute urinary retention in Ikeja – Lagos, Nigeria

Stephen O Ikuerowo1*, Aderinsola A Ogunade1, Taiwo O Ogunlowo1, Charles C Uzodimma12 and Julius O Esho1

Author Affiliations

1 Urology Unit, Department of Surgery, Lagos State University College of Medicine and, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria

2 National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, Nigeria

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BMC Urology 2007, 7:16  doi:10.1186/1471-2490-7-16

Published: 26 September 2007



Acute urinary retention (AUR) is a common urological problem. We have observed a growing list of patients on indwelling bladder catheter awaiting surgery after AUR. This study was aimed at identifying the health, financial and quality of life (QoL) implications of prolonged use of indwelling catheter in these patients


We review the side-effects, QoL and cost of changing an indwelling catheter among patients who were on the waiting list for definitive surgery after AUR. All the 62 patients who presented to weekly catheter clinic for change of the indwelling catheter were recruited over a 3 – week period into the study.


The mean age of the patients was 57.5 years and the mean catheter use time was 23 months. The aetiology of AUR was BPH in 40 (64%) and urethral trauma in 16 (28.4%) of the patients. The common side effects of prolonged catheterization included urethral/suprapubic pain, bleeding per urethram, loss of dignity, loss of job or being out of school, lack of sexual intercourse, pericatheter leakage of urine and recurrent urinary tract infection. The cost of change of the indwelling catheter to the patient each time ranged from 460.00 – 2500.00 Naira (averaged 789.67 Naira). The total annual cost for the change of indwelling catheter after AUR in our catheter clinic was estimated to be 7,350,000.00 Naira (58,800 US dollars) with 1,890,000.00 Naira (15,120 US dollars) being the cost borne by the patients per annum and the rest being government subsidy. Fifty-three (85.5%) patients described that they were unhappy. There was a significant correlation between QoL and the presence of pain (p = 0.015) and bleeding (p = 0.042) associated with the presence of an indwelling catheter.


The need to have an indwelling catheter for a prolonged period after AUR is a painful experience and associated with several side-effects. This has a significant negative effect on the patients' QoL and constitutes a significant financial burden to the patients and the government. We suggest that measures should be put in place to reduce the waiting time for surgery and therefore the catheterization time among the patients with AUR.