There is currently no standard established model to test the efficacy of intermittent catheters to prevent or control introduction/movement of bacteria into the urethra during device insertion. This study aimed to address this issue by developing a reproducible agar based urethral model.

A novel model and testing method was developed to quantify the displacement of bacterial growth after intermittent catheter insertion.The urethral model consists primarily of a preformed channel within a specifically formulated agar based matrix. The urethra model was inoculated at one side of the channel to act as the urethral meatus, a catheter was then inserted. After incubation the bacteria within the urethra channel was quantified.

Once optimised, the model produced reliable and reproducible results with both and (P≥0.265). The model was used to test three different intermittent catheter types. When compared to the growth control there was a significant difference in bacterial distribution when inserting an uncoated (P≤0.001) or hydrophilic coated (P≤0.009) catheter; there was no significant difference when a prototype catheter was inserted with either bacterial species used (P≥0.423).

These findings support the hypothesis that a single catheter insertion can initiate a catheter-associated urinary tract infection. The urethra model and associated methodology provide a new research tool for the development and validation of emerging technologies in urological healthcare.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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