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UV sterilization of catheters

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  • UV sterilization of catheters

    So here's a hair brained idea that just might work.


    Above is a portable water sanitation system typically used for camping that will kill 99.99% of bacteria via UV rays. This works for the surface of your plastic bottle as well as the liquid contained therein.

    I'm thinking that you could have a long, water-filled container to put your catheter in and just stick the wand in it while shaking it around for a minute or so, which will circulate the bacteria around to be killed by the wand and thus get a pretty reasonable degree of sterility.

    Another possibility is to incorporate some sort of pump to the container that can force water through the catheter to flush out any bacteria. The UV wand doesn't work in murky water, so I'm assuming that it might not pass through the opaque walls of the catheter very well.

    My immediate concerns are whether or not the plastic in the catheter or the hydrophilic coating are susceptible to degradation from the UV light. I suppose there is also a concern about whether or not it will actually sterilize the catheter as well, but my logic first of all is that it would be a whole lot more sanitary than just running a hydrophilic catheter under hot water (as I often do).

    So what do you guys think?
    L2 incomplete with a pretty bad limp since 10/31/2011.

  • #2
    Of course catheters used for intermittent catheterization are NOT FDA approved for reuse, and simply rinsing in any solution is not going to sterilize them. Why are you reusing?

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


    • #3
      Iv wondered why they cant make a reusable catheter out of silver. bacteria doesn't like silver, and the slough off of silver into the bladder is a uti preventative.
      the huge amounts of trash from single use bugs me, but then again, I love my hydrophillic single use compared to when I had to reuse and re sterilize. tons more uti no matter how careful I tried to be. I get far fewer uti now.


      • #4
        Because high deductible insurance is a scam.

        Also, because I hate being limited. I've figured out ways to do whatever I want with crutches, AFO's and whatnot, and I've more or less made peace with that inconvenience. However my quest for a slippery, sterile tube every four hours will either bankrupt me (hydrophilic catheters are expensive) or keep me indoors (I really just don't see how I could use non-hydrophilic catheters in a portapotty, outside, bar restroom, etc.. without seriously contaminating myself) and not to mention hurt a whole lot (I have the mixed blessing of having good sensation down there).

        And in either case, traveling around with a trash bag full of catheters doesn't really work for me. I'm going to turkey for a month in January, and that means I'll have to drag along about 200 catheters. If I want to backpack in South America for three months, that's 1000. I have always traveled for long stretches, and I'd like to get back to it. Doing so with an ample supply of catheters is impossible, so I'll figure out some way to reuse them - bacteria be damned.

        No, the uv light won't completely sterilize it, but it will significantly reduce the total bacteria count. As best as I understand it, nobody's bladder is perfectly sterile if they have to cath - so I'm really just trying to reduce the contamination rate so that my body's immune system can keep up.
        L2 incomplete with a pretty bad limp since 10/31/2011.


        • #5

          I suspect that the problem with silver coatings is that it is too expensive to be even vaguely disposable, but at the same time it is not effective enough to warrant extended use. But hell, I'll try anything.
          L2 incomplete with a pretty bad limp since 10/31/2011.


          • #6
            Test it. I don't remember most of my high school biology, but I think you get some jello in a petri dish take a sample from the inside/outside of the catheter after you sterile it and let it sit. Stick it under a microscope and see what grew.
            You could go over to UW and find some biology major to help you.


            • #7
              Here are some additional tid-bits for the innovative thinkers.

              Regarding "... bacteria doesn't like silver ..." - this assertion is correct. Also, approximately 99.9% of bacteria are killed within 2 hours after placement upon copper. At least two different businesses have been developed on this bacteria-killing characteristic of copper (e.g., copper door knobs, hand rails, etc. for critical areas in hospitals).

              Regarding "... silver coatings ... too expensive to be even vaguely disposable ..." - at the time of this writing (Nov 6, 2012) silver costs approximately $32 per ounce. Presently, copper is approximately 150 times less expensive than silver.

              Even wheelchair cushions - the cover designs in particular - have recently been impacted by this interesting characteristic of silver. For example, both the Jay Union and Jay Fusion cushions offer a cover fabric exhibiting silver-coated fibers designed with a bacteria-killing goal in mind.
              Last edited by WC_Sage; 11-06-2012, 11:52 PM.