The pelvic bone is a basin-shaped ring of bones connecting our torso to our legs. Its primary functions are to bear the weight of the upper body when sitting and standing, pivoting the weight between the upper body and legs and providing attachments for major muscles that enable locomotion. As a strong and rigid structure, the secondary function of the pelvic girdle is to contain and protect various organs within the pelvic cavity, including the bladder, urinary tracts and associated muscles and membranes.

How a pelvic injury can affect bladder function

A pelvic injury can occur as the result of an accident such as a severe fall or a traffic accident. The blood vessels, nerves, and muscles running through the pelvic ring can all be damaged by a broken pelvis, which can adversely affect urinary function. A fractured pelvis also impairs mobility, making urination a further challenge.

Urethral injury

When the pelvic bones near the prostate and the urethra are fractured, the forces can tear the urethra from the bottom part of the prostate, creating a gap between the urethra and the prostate. One common way to treat a urethral injury is to place a catheter across the gap between the urethra and the prostate if the gap is relatively small. Sometimes your doctor may instead place a suprapubic catheter across the abdominal wall into the bladder if the gap is large. Please note that this process refers to male catheterisation.

Another treatment involves undergoing surgery to reconnect the urethra, which is also known as posterior urethroplasty. This is usually performed three months after the injury when the swelling and scarring have resolved. Before the surgery, your doctor is likely to use a suprapubic catheter to help you with bladder management.

Bladder injury

If the bladder was bruised during the pelvic injury, a catheter may be left in the bladder for about two weeks to allow blood and urine to drain off. However, in the event of a significant bladder injury, surgery is often performed to fix the issue. If the pelvic fracture has damaged the nerves going to the bladder, then it may lead to urinary incontinence and call for catheterisation.

Bladder management with catheters

As explained in the previous sections, catheterisation is usually needed to manage urethral injury and also bladder injury. The type of catheter often chosen is either an indwelling urinary catheter or a suprapubic catheter, depending on the severity of the injury, the patient’s mobility and degree of muscular control.

If you’d like to find out about the different types of catheters and their pros and cons, this post “Which catheter should I choose” is informative and makes for an interesting read.

Risks of urinary tract infection from catheter use

While catheters are invaluable for managing the bladders of patients with a pelvis injury, one must be aware of the increased risk of urinary tract infection with prolonged use.

As the tube provides bacteria or fungi access to the bladder for extended periods of time, the microbes can multiply and lead to what is called a Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI). CAUTI is one of the most common infections a person can contract in the hospital, and indwelling catheters are a major cause of CAUTI although they also occur with suprapubic catheter use.

How UroShield can help lower risks of CAUTI

With indwelling and suprapubic catheters, the risk of infection greatly diminishes their usefulness in bladder management. However, there is a non-invasive way to reduce the chance of infection.

UroShield is a compact external medical device that generates low-frequency, low-intensity ultrasound waves to prevent bacterial biofilm from forming on catheters. The action of the ultrasonic waves runs along the full length of the catheter, up into the balloon and down into the bag, both on the outside and inside surfaces of the catheter. The ultrasound gently vibrates the catheter to stop the bacteria from adhering to the catheter and forming the biofilm – preventing infections from developing.

If biofilm is present, UroShield helps to break up the protective layer surrounding the biofilm which is normally impenetrable to antibiotics, allowing it access to the bacteria and curing the infection. The vibrations also prevent catheter encrustation and blockage, caused by crystalline deposits of mineral salts in the urine. UroShield also helps to reduce catheter-associated bladder spasms and pain and is effective for any kind of catheter, both urethral and suprapubic.

Click on the link to find out more about how UroShield works. Additionally, this post on ‘Overcoming the learning curves that come with a catheter’ is also informative.

In our clinical studies, patients who used UroSheild have reported great benefits including:

  • No or reduced infection rates
  • No or reduced catheter blockage
  • No or reduced catheter-related bladder spasms
  • No or reduced catheter-related pain
  • Increased quality of life
  • More energy and feeling generally better

To know more, get in touch on 020 8773 7844 or fill out our Online Form.

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This post is not health advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current healthcare issues.