Burn patients have a relatively high rate of indwelling Foley catheter use because of their need for complex fluid management and wound care. However, Foley catheter use is associated with risks, including urinary tract infection. For female patients, an external urinary catheter is an alternative.
To evaluate the use of female external urinary catheters in a burn intensive care unit and to develop a standard protocol.
This study involved female patients admitted to a burn intensive care unit from 2017 to 2020. An initiative to increase the use of female external urinary catheters was begun in 2019. A retrospective review of medical records was used to determine rates of indwelling and external catheter use and of catheter-associated urinary tract infection before and after implementation of the initiative.
Of 77 female burn patients admitted to the unit between 2019 and 2020, 56 (73%) required indwelling Foley catheterization, a significant decrease from 94% before the initiative (P = .002). The mean duration of indwelling Foley catheter use decreased significantly from 19.4 days to 10.47 days (P = .049). Female external urinary catheters were used in 21 patients (27%). No patients with female external urinary catheters contracted urinary tract infections, compared with 9 patients with indwelling Foley catheters.
The use of female external urinary catheters may help reduce the risk of urinary tract infection in female burn patients. Further research is needed to refine the protocol for use of these devices and determine their safety profile.