Catheter irrigation is the procedure done to clean a catheter and to remove any clots formed inside the catheters. This procedure helps to prevent the entry of any microorganisms into the urinary bladder. It is also useful in removing blood clots that may develop after kidney, bladder or prostate surgery. For urinary catheter irrigation, normal saline is used. The saline solution is introduced in to the catheter to remove any material causing clogs such as a blood clot or another deposit. Catheter irrigation should be performed by a health care professional or a person trained to use catheters.
You will need a catheter irrigation tray, a saline solution container and a catheter tip syringe to do the procedure by yourself, if you cannot depend on others to do it. You will also need alcohol cotton swabs, sterile gloves and towels. Before starting the procedure, it is necessary to wash your hands with soap and water. Dry your hands and put on the sterile gloves. Place the towel beneath the connection of the catheter tube and catheter bag tube. Clean the connection area of the catheter to the catheter bag using the alcohol swab. Allow the area to dry. Hold the catheter tubing in one hand and the drainage bag tubing in the other hand and pull out gently. Plug the opened end of the catheter bag using a catheter plug. Remove any urine inside the catheter tubing using the catheter tip syringe. Take the catheter tip syringe and fill it with the suggested amount of sterile saline solution. Place the syringe safely in and introduce the solution into the open end of the catheter tube. Pull back the plunger of the syringe to recollect the saline solution. Now, the catheter tubing and catheter bag tubing can be reconnected. After reconnecting, it is necessary to check whether urine is flowing out properly from the catheter. If urine is not flowing out properly repeat the catheter irrigation process. If the flow is not proper, call the doctor. You have to also clean the items used for the catheter irrigation process. It is necessary to properly dispose all the supplies used for the process as well.
It is necessary to follow strict sterile techniques while doing catheter irrigation to prevent the entry of bacteria into the urinary bladder. The patient should remain as still as possible during the procedure to avoid any discomfort while performing catheter irrigation. It is better to irrigate the catheter system just before bed time, when you disconnect the leg bag and reconnect to the night bag and just before you get up, when you disconnect the night drainage and reconnect to the leg bag.
Practicing the catheter irrigation as suggested by the doctor will reduce the chances of the entry of microorganisms into the catheter and to the various parts of the urinary system including the bladder and kidneys. Infection of the kidneys and bladders can lead to major complications. You can get proper training from your doctor if you want to do the irrigation yourself. Any of the family members can also learn the procedure to help the patient.