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Thread: "Real World" Comparison of Intermittent Catheters

  1. #1

    "Real World" Comparison of Intermittent Catheters

    As I have ventured into the world of IC, I have looked and searched for valuable information about the many intermittent catheters available to day. There's plenty of marketing information available, but I could not find how they compared to each other. So, I ordered and/or bought the following samples and kept track of my results. I hope that others will find this information useful!

    Please keep in mind that my comments are from a guy's perspective. I prefer a softer, more flexible catheter due to the longer male urethra with an abrupt turn upward into the bladder. I suspect that this is less of an issue for girls/women due to the shorter, straight urethra.


    Rochester Hydrophilic Personal/Hollister Advance Hydro Soft
    Advantages:
    1. Stays straight no matter if they are stored in a bent position.
    2. Contains it's own pouch of water so it does not require additional lubrication.
    3. Least expensive hydrophilic catheter.
    Disadvantages:
    1. The smaller drainage eyes and/or thicker wall drastically decrease flow and increase drainage time.
    2. Hydrophilic COATING seams to loose it's effectiveness after a couple minutes (possibly due to the urethra absorbing the moisture or the gel simply starts to dry out) which increases the tension necessary to remove.

    Comments: This catheter is fairly soft and flexible. However, I was uncomfortable with how hard I have to pull to remove this catheter. It was my understanding that the Rochester Hydrophilic Personal and the Hollister Advance Hydro Soft are the same catheters. Based on what I have seen, I agree.

    Mentor Self-Cath
    Advantages:
    1. Cheap
    2. Thinner wall (larger inside diameter) which allows quicker drainage.
    Disadvantages:
    1. Requires lubrication.
    2. Not as slippery as some hydrophilic catheters.

    Comments: These catheters are fairly stiff which allows for easier insertion but may cause more trauma to delicate tissue.

    Mentor Self-Cath Soft
    Advantages:
    1. Thinner wall (larger inside diameter) which allows quicker drainage.
    2. Price!
    Disadvantages:
    1. Requires lubrication.
    2. Not as slippery as some hydrophilic catheters.

    Comments: This is the softest and most flexible catheter that I tested. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. If it is softer, it could be more difficult to insert but is softer on delicate tissues.

    Mentor Self-Cath Plus
    Advantages:

    1. Thinner wall (larger inside diameter) which allows quicker drainage.
    2. Slippery surface.
    Disadvantages:
    1. Does not include it's own water pouch so additional water is required.

    Comments: I was kind of supprised by this catheter. I was expecting it to have a coating on it similar to the Rochester Personal Hydrophilic. Instead, it is similar to the LoFric surface but not as slippery. It is simply a Self-Cath with a hydrophilic surface. It seemed to insert easier than the Rochester Personal hydrophilic but not as easily as the LoFric.

    LoFric Primo
    Advantages:
    1. Very slippery. These catheters glide in and out VERY easily.
    2. Contains it's own pouch of water so it does not require additional lubrication.
    Disadvantages:
    1. Can be difficult to insert compared to some of the other catheters because of it's extremely slippery surface.
    2. Price!

    Comments: This catheter is almost too slippery. This can make insertion difficult if a person needs to hold the catheter in the middle. I was able, however, to insert the catheter by only holding the funnel end, never having to touch the middle of the catheter. Once inserted, it would actually start to slide out on it's own so I had to hold it in place for the duration of the cathing process!

    LoFric Plus
    Advantages:
    1. Very slippery. These catheters glide in and out VERY easily.
    2. Huge holes or eyelets for faster draining.
    Disadvantages:
    1. Can be difficult to insert compared to some of the other catheters because of it's extremely slippery surface.
    2. Does not include it's own water pouch so additional water is required.
    3. Price!

    Comments: This catheter is my favorite so far. It has the largest drainage holes of any of the other catheters that I tried. I prefer a softer catheter and while it is not as soft as the Self-Cath Soft, it is considerably softer than the regular LoFric or the SpeediCath. Even though it is more flexible than the LoFric Primo, I was still able to insert the catheter by only holding the funnel end. I just wish it was packaged with it's own water.

    Coloplast Speedicath
    Advantages:
    1. Very slippery. These catheters glide in and out VERY easily.
    2. This catheter is packaged with water so it does not require additional lubrication.
    Disadvantages:
    1. Can be difficult to insert compared to some of the other catheters because of it's extremely slippery surface.
    2. Price!

    Comments: This catheter is very similar to the LoFric Primo. However, instead of a water pouch that must be broken, the catheter comes in a foil package with the water.

    I did not like this catheter mainly because it is so stiff - the stiffest catheter I have tried. This may make it easier for some to insert, but for me, it was just too stiff. This catheter was the only one that I tested that actually made me bleed! I felt like it was digging into the side of my urethra as I was inserting it. I also have a phobia of false passages and I assume that it would be easier to create one with a stiff catheter. Again, this may be a non-issue for you gals. If you like STIFF, SLIPPERY catheters, this one is for you!

    I also took note of the individual catheters ability to retain it's straight shape even after being folded up. For me, a catheter that has bends is more difficult to insert. As a general rule, the stiffer the catheter, the more it would retain it's folded shape. In other words, if you fold a stiff catheter, it will retain this folded shape as you are using it. The exception to this rule is the silicone catheters such as the Rochester Personal catheters. These catheters seem to spring back to their original straight shape no matter how they have been folded.

    One thing that I have learned is that not all hydrophilic catheters are the same. The Rochester hydrophilic catheters have a type of “coating” that, when wet, is similar to lubricating jell. It can be rubbed off easily and dries out fairly quickly. However, the LoFric and Speedicath hydrophilic catheters seem to have a slippery “surface” that does not easily rub off. For instance, I could easily wash the coating off of the Rochester catheters within a few seconds of scrubbing under running water. However, I washed the LoFric and Speedicath catheters several times. Each washing seemed to diminish or reduce the slippery nature of the catheter. But even after five washings, the surface would once again become slippery after water was applied to the catheter.

    Conclusion:
    If I wanted a reusable catheter, I would select the Self-Cath Soft or the Rochester Personal catheter. The Self-Catheter Soft is softer, but the silicone Rochester Personal catheters return back to their original straight shape better.

    If I did not want to re-use catheters (witch I am now doing), my choice is the LoFric Plus. It is soft and super slippery. My second choice would be the Mentor Self-Cath Plus. Neither one come packaged with it's own water packet so I guess I will just have to carry around a jug of saline solution!
    Last edited by sledboy; 06-24-2007 at 08:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member keps's Avatar
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    Sledboy, this is a great idea for a thread.

    I'm female, but find your opening post interesting reading.

    Reading what you thought of Speedicath - it's just what I think! Too hard, and way too slippery. I had some, so I used them, but it was like trying to hold eels, lol.

  3. #3
    I just added info for the Self-Cath Plus.

  4. #4
    I use male catheters - female ones are way too short!
    My catheter of choice is Pennine non-lubricated size 14! Tried lots of others but always come back to this one if I can find it to order.

  5. #5
    I use a Mentor Self-Cath 14fr #450 catheter and store it in a bottle of hydrogen peroxide (not recommended) and one will last me several months. UTI-free and not bacterially colonized for 20 months. No need to lube them, the HP is enough.

    They retain their original shape, (even though they're spiraled down into a rather small 16 ounce bottle) clearness and suppleness although they're stored in HP 24/7 for months.

    As it concerns catheters, I'm getting my money's worth. Cheap bas*%$d.

    Bob.
    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria

  6. #6
    Senior Member keps's Avatar
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    Carbar - are they the ones with "Pennine Healthcare" printed on the packet? I use those. When I said "the ones that say Pennine Healthcare on the packet" in response to a nurse at my spinal unit recently, she blinked then said "Oh, Nelaton". So I think that may be the correct name!

    I use Fr 12, as Fr 14 I find difficult to insert. I learned ic in rehab with the male caths, but once I got home, my supplier sent female ones. I do prefer the female ones. With the male ones, I find lots of excess cath I don't need to be annoying.

  7. #7
    Personal tastes differ so this is an interesting thread.

    As a C5/6 quad with wrist extension but no fingers I found through experimentation in rehab that Coloplast Speedicath were the only ones I could use independently, possibly due to that rigidity and slippiness which puts others off.

    My method involves opening the packet with teeth and that convenient white loop, attaching a tube and then inserting by holding the tube and barely touching the catheter itself apart from guiding it. I don't think this would work if they weren't rigid.

    Fortunately they are paid for by the NHS in the UK because I think they are the most expensive. Mind you, the alternative would most likely be a 24 hour PCA to cath me.

    I would strongly recommend any quad with hand movement to experiment with cathing themselves if at all possible, unless they have alternative bladder management. It was the single most frustrating thing I learned to do in rehab but probably contributed more to my post SCI freedom and independence than anything other than e-motion wheels.
    C5/6 incomplete

    "I assume you all have guns and crack....."

  8. #8
    Bob:

    Your method is very interesting to me. In fact, when I started cathing, I would reuse the catheters and store them in a little bottle with some hydrogen peroxide in it. I think I got the idea from a post you had written in a different thread. This seams like it would be very handy!

    Bad thing is that every time I would try to reuse it, I would get a UTI. Could you tell me more about your method of cleaning and storing your catheters. I used a small bottle with just a little bit of peroxide in it. In fact, I think I would dilute it with a little bit of water. Maybe that was my downfall. Possibly if I used more peroxide and didn't dilute it. But then would this cause problems with delicate tissues?

    Also, I found that when I would take the Self-Cath's out of the bottle, they would stay coiled up. Are you saying that yours actually straighten back on their own or do you have to straighten them out?

  9. #9
    sledboy, do you reuse the hydrophilic more than 1 day? and storing these in peroxide?

    I currently use the Mentor Self Cath Plus - hydrophilic; and the Mentor Cath Kits. Catheter in kits are softer than the straight catheters. I often re-use the hydrophilic straight caths, for a day then toss. But, I have in the past actually re-used them for a couple of weeks at a time, long after the coating had washed off. I just wash with soap and water, and leave in plastic container I use to drain, usually doesn't fully dry nor do I use a set of catheters in cycles (allowing thorough drying). Hardly ever get UTI's, but I don't think I worry about it much or think every little symptom is a UTI. I think that there can be unnecessary anxiety over bacteria and infections, which can actually predispose one to being even more susceptible to them (eg. over sanitizing everything, which can destroy necessary 'good' bacteria). Anyway, a clean technique is necessary, but simple soap and water should suffice.

    I am not too sure about the advantages of water contained caths. Water spilling when opening, is a con (esp. if have limited hands), but it would definitely be an advantage if you don't have access to water. However, if you need to wash hands before cathing, and/or are in a restroom to cath, you would be near a sink, so running a bit of water on hydrophilic catheters would be sufficient. I've not needed to use the long plastic wrapping/container as an "extension", but if one (esp. men) needed an easy disposable extension to their catheters, to reach into toilets, etc., particularly when out and using public bathrooms, the catheter wrap can serve as an extension to drain into toilet. Then toss after use. At least, this will prevent the catheter, especially if planning to reuse, from touching any toilets. This may eliminate need to carry a urinal/bottle - less supplies to carry, less urine smells. Catheter can be tossed, or washed/reused. If reusing catheters, I would recommend washing catheter after use, then storing til home to wash more thoroughly and then reuse.

    btw. I have other brands/types of catheters, which I plan to try, just haven't yet. I request samples, to try. If anyone wants tyo try some specific brands, just request from the company you get your supplies from and/or from other vendors/manufacturers. Some will send free, others may charge shipping.
    Last edited by chick; 06-25-2007 at 12:44 PM.

  10. #10
    Chick:

    When I first started experimenting with IC, I was reusing them and storing them in diluted hydrogen peroxide. I could not go a week without getting another UTI. I was about to give up on IC and go with a suprapubic but I decided to give IC a more serious try.

    Currently, I am trying to just come up with a system that I am confident in and comfortable with. This system, for now, does not include reusing catheters. I have now gone two weeks without a UTI and am gaining more confidence all the time. Disposing of every catheter, as everyone here knows, is wasteful and expensive. In the future, I definately would like to start reusing them. I just need to find a system that works and then start experimenting with reusing them later.

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