A Medical Look at the Evolution of Catheters

The term catheter originates from the Greek word kathienai, which means” to send down.” The use of catheters was to alleviate uncomfortable urine retention. They have been in use since 300B.C. Different materials, including straw, wrapped up palm leaves, open tops of onions, were utilized to make a hollow catheter shape. In the 11th century, plastic catheters were invented. Later, silver was adapted as the foundation for catheters since it could be twisted into any form and was said to have antibacterial properties. The creator, Benjamin Franklin, made silver catheters for his kin John. John had kidney stones and required a large metal catheter to be inserted into his bladder regularly. Franklin collaborated with his local silversmith to make a flexible catheter to make his brother’s urine problem less unpleasant.

Coudé catheters were invented in the 18th and 19th centuries to make men’s catheterization easier, and they are still used in medical facilities today. Rubber catheters became a favorite option in the 18th century, but they were pretty feeble and left charred pieces in the bladder. Goodyear’s inventions of rubber vulcanization in 1844 enhanced the stiffness and endurance of the catheter while also allowing mass production. In 1930, latex catheters became available. Dr. Fredrick E.B Foley, a urologist from St. Paul, presented the latex catheter in 1935 at a urologic symposium. Despite losing a patent battle with Davol, the “Foley” catheter has become well-known. The Foley catheter allowed both men and women to undergo short-term catheterization and long-term ushering in a new era in the treatment of urine retention and incontinence. Because of Lister’s antiseptic, bladder catheterization was thought to be reasonably safe. Despite the use of antiseptics, medical professionals were still concerned about catheter-related infections since patients continued to develop “catheter fever.”

Following World War II, Mr. Ludwig Gutman pioneered sterile intermittent urinary catheterization in patients with spinal cord injuries. Catheterization was done using a sterile method for several years. The clean intermittent catheterization was first proposed in 1971 by Dr. Jack Lapides of the University of Michigan. According to him, germs weren’t the primary source of the infections. Chronic stagnant pee residuals and bladder overstretching were also to blame. Although CIC (clean intermittent catheterization) was not conducted in a completely sterile environment, Dr. Lapides believed it preferable to indwelling catheters. The urological community first despised Dr. Lapide. Thirty years later, clean intermittent catheterization is still the recommended method for treating persistent urinary retention and neurogenic bladder challenges. Current regulatory changes have recommended the reuse of catheters for intermittent catheterization to decrease the risk of catheter-related urinary tract infections.

Manufacturers have continued to supply a wide range of catheters like complex catheters and medical balloon catheters. They are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Their catheters have single-use and reusable properties. To minimize the risk of a UTI using reusable catheters, one should carefully clean both the catheter and the region where it enters. Because one-time use catheters come in sterile packaging, you only have to clean the body part before inserting the catheter.