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Do Catheters Expire?

by admin May 27 2013 08:39
It is important to all of us at 180 Medical to answer common questions for our patients regarding catheterizing.

If new to catheterizing, you have probably wondered if intermittent catheters expire. If they do expire, what is the harm?

According to catheter manufacturer Teleflex Medical’s global labeling policy, catheter labels require an expiration date or some other means by which users may be assured of the quality at the time of use. Expiration dates are solely for package integrity and sterility. Typically the catheters themselves do not breakdown once expired, but the sterility can be compromised after the expiration date.

Catheter Expiration Date
Additionally if you are using a hydrophilic catheter that has sterile water to activate the lubricant enclosed in the kit, the expiration date indicates the tested time during which sterility of this water can be maintained. From our experience there is more of a chance that the sterile water may be dried up or become cloudy after the expiration date.

180 Medical recommends that our customers use catheters prior to the expiration date to take any possible step to create a sterile environment and help prevent any unnecessary infections.

About the Author:

Trish has worked for 180 Medical for almost three years, as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska, with her husband and daughters.

Catheter options for limited hand dexterity

by billf May 13 2013 10:32
Bill has been helping patients transition to life using urinary catheters with limited hand dexterity for almost ten years. Speaking from experience, Bill knows what our patients are going through. He was injured in a motocross accident over 22 years ago. He discusses catheter options for those with limited hand dexterity.

Advanced Catheters

"Depending on your insurance coverage, you might be eligible for a more advanced catheter. These catheters are usually hydrophilic, which means they do not require lubrication. They have a special coating that is activated when introduced to water. Most of these catheters have water packets, which you must break open and let the catheter saturate in the water for about 30 seconds to activate the coating. The catheter becomes very slippery, which can make them more difficult to hold onto for some patients. Some of these catheters have sleeves around them to make it easier to grasp. These catheters are better than the regular catheter with lubrication. The catheter stays lubricated while in the urethra, which reduces trauma, pain, and irritation to the urethra.

Catheter Types

180 Medical carries many different brands of hydrophilic and closed system catheters. The company, MTG, offers a closed system catheter that is specifically designed for people with limited hand dexterity. I prefer a closed system catheter because it is the most convenient catheter, especially when you are away from home in foreign surroundings. I use the hydrophilic closed system catheter called the MMG H2O. I use this catheter because it goes in easier for me due to a slight stricture I have.

A lot of people that have dexterity issues have a hard time popping the water pocket.  I can pop it by placing it in between my two palms and pushing them together and squeezing it. Some people prefer to lay it on the table and hit it. I have to use what is called the cheater method. Basically, I get the catheter out first and use it like you would a regular catheter. This defeats the purpose of the introducer tip, but I must use a hydrophilic catheter due to a stricture.  As I mentioned earlier, I am able to hold the catheter between my forefinger on one hand and the thumb on my other hand. This gives me a really good grip on the catheter. There is also a device called a quadriplegic catheter inserter which is designed specifically for quadriplegics.  It is a spring loaded clamp that fits around the catheter to aid those who cannot grasp the catheter.”

If you're interested in trying different brands of hydrophilic catheters and closed-system catheters, have one of our catheter specialists make sure your insurance covers A4353 catheters.

Another one of the best catheters for someone with very limited hand dexterity, whether male or female, is the MTG EZ-Gripper. The latex-free MTG EZ-Gripper is a self-contained, pre-lubricated, closed system catheter. From start to finish, the user will not need the fine motor skills of hands or fingers to cath. The packaging is fitted with finger holes for easy opening, and easy filling and draining.
MTG E-Z Advancer catheter, with patented EZ-Advancer valve system enhances ease of use. Equipped with soft silicone and an introducer tip to reduce risk of infection, it comes with insertion supplies and bag.

Another popular catheter for limited hand dexterity is the Coloplast Self-Cath Closed System Kit. 100% Silicone, latex-free unisex catheter system designed to reduce the occurrence of urinary tract infections and reduce trauma to the urethra. It features an Easy-off tear tab, which makes it easier to use even for those with limited hand dexterity. Includes insertion supplies.

Catheter Insurance Coverage

Some insurance companies do not cover closed-system or hydrophilic catheters, and some will cover them, with additional documentation from your doctor. If you are unable to obtain closed-system or hydrophilic catheters, Bill has some insight on how to catheterize with a regular straight catheter and lubricant.

“The biggest issue with using straights and lubricant, with limited hand dexterity, is opening the lubricant packet. The easiest way is to use a tube of lubricant. The problem with this is if interested in trying a more advanced catheter, Medicare guidelines require the one-time use of one packet with every catheter. Using a tube is not considered sterile according to Medicare guidelines.  Also, I use antibacterial wipes called Big Ones to wipe off the tip of my urethra as well as my hands before handling the catheter.

There is no easy way to open the lubrication packets. The only ways I have found is to rip them open with your teeth or to use a pair of scissors. We do offer one brand of lubricant that comes in a paper packet which makes it a little easier to open.

I am available to discuss these issues, as that is part of my job here.  So if you do have any questions regarding catheterizing, please do not hesitate to give me a call.”—Bill

Also see Learning to Self Catheterization with Limited Hand Dexterity.

Image Credit

About the Authors:

Bill has worked for 180 Medical for almost ten years in various positions within the company. He works at the180 Medical corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City, OK. He often speaks to customers about adjusting to life after a spinal cord injury. Read more about Bill here.

Trish Eklund has worked for 180 Medical for almost three years, as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska, with her husband and daughters. She is a feature writer for and

Learning self-catheterization with limited hand dexterity

by billf May 8 2013 11:51
Many medical conditions and injuries can cause limited hand dexterity. 180 Medical strives to make it easy for everyone to find a urinary catheter to fit each patient’s lifestyle, including those with limited hand dexterity. Our Catheter Specialists are well-trained in the best products, and what your insurance will and will not cover.

Bill, who is one of 180 Medical’s many assets, is always willing to speak to any patient regarding cathing. Speaking from experience, Bill knows what our patients are going through, especially regarding cathing with limited hand dexterity. I asked for Bill’s input on this subject.

“Hi, my name is Bill and I am a C-5/6-quadriplegic.  I have been paralyzed for about 25 years and would like to share some of my personal tips regarding catheterizing with limited hand dexterity. One of the first things to consider when catheterizing with limited hand dexterity is how to access your urethra. I use a manual wheelchair and I have found the best way to hold my pants and underwear open is to use a plastic hanger or a bungee cord. You can take the hook of the plastic hanger, hook your pants and underwear on it, stretching the triangle part of the hanger around one of your knees. Be careful not to break it. This should give you adequate access. You can also use a bungee cord by putting the hooks on your pants and underwear and then stretching the cord around one of your knees. Some companies offer special hooks shaped like a C that is designed to wrap around your pants and then around the front of your wheelchair seat, but I have never had much luck with these. By doing this, both of your hands will be free for the rest of the cathing process.

Grasping the catheter can be quite difficult with limited hand dexterity, depending on how limited. My hands do not work at all. I have found the best way to get a good grip on the catheter is to use my forefinger from one hand, and my thumb on the other hand to grasp the catheter. I am able to get a very good hold on it by doing this.

When first starting out, it took me a while to get the hang of things. Do not get discouraged because it might take some time to get things figured out. When I first started trying it took me up to 30 minutes to cath, I am now able to complete the process in about 10 minutes. Being self-reliant and independent is very important to me."  -- Bill

Next: Different Types of Catheters for Limited Hand Dexterity

Image Credit

About the Authors:

Bill has worked for 180 Medical for almost ten years in various positions within the company. He works at the180 Medical corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City, OK. He often speaks to customers about adjusting to life after a spinal cord injury. Read more about Bill here.

Trish Eklund has worked for 180 Medical for almost three years, as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska, with her husband and daughters. She is a feature writer for and

180 Medical Honors National Stroke Awareness Month

by kier May 1 2013 12:50

May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and people everywhere are doing their part to raise awareness and educate others about strokes. Bowel and bladder problems are common in people after they've had strokes, and it's estimated that 1 in 7 stroke survivors experience some kind of long term incontinence problem. Urinary incontinence, constipation, bowel incontinence, and urinary retention occur when the stroke has damaged the part of the brain that controls waste removal.

Intermittent catheterization could help some stroke victims control their problems associated with urinary incontinence.  Many doctors recommend a combination of catheters, dietary restrictions, and bladder control exercises for their patients in order to help their urinary incontinence issues. The National Stroke Association has a wealth of information on how to control and live with bowel and urinary problems, and they have some advice for stroke victims who are learning how to deal with their urinary problems.

If you're having urinary incontinence issues, try going to the bathroom at regular intervals of time.  Urinating every 2-3 hours regardless of if you feel the urge to or not can help prevent accidents.  You should also avoid drinking too much caffeine and alcohol since they have diuretic effects.  Your physical therapist may be able to recommend a series of kegel exercises that can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.

Stroke Awareness with F.A.S.T.

It's estimated that around 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year, and it's been proven that education about the signs and symptoms of a stroke can help save lives.  In a 2005 survey 93% of stroke victims recognized that sudden numbness on one side was a sign of a stroke, but only 38% of them knew about all of the major signs of a stroke and knew when to call 911.  These are the common signs and symptoms of a stroke.

  • SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg - especially on one side of the body. 
  • SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding. 
  • SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes. 
  • SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination. 
  • SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause. 

Stroke Awareness Month
These symptoms make it easy to identify if you're having a stroke, but determining if another person is having a stroke can be difficult.  That's why the National Stroke Associations came up with the F.A.S.T.stroke symptom criteria.  F.A.S.T. stands for face, arms, speech, and time, four very important factors when it comes to evaluating possible stroke victims.  If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, remember to keep F.A.S.T. in mind:

Face: Ask the person whom you think is having a stroke to smile, and pay attention to see if one side of their face is drooping
Arms: Ask the person to raise their arms, and see if one of the arms drifts downward
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase, and see if their speech is slurred or if they're speaking in a strange manner (pauses, stammers, saying words out of order)
Time: Remember that time is an important factor in helping stroke victims.  If you see them exhibiting any signs of a stroke, call 911 immediately.

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A Day in the Life of a 180 Medical Product Specialist

by admin April 30 2013 17:20
180 Medical is a national leader in the urologic catheter supply industry. We recruit employees who are hardworking individuals that want to enjoy going to work and are inspired to help people every day. We offer a very competitive benefits package, extensive training and fun extras. 180 Medical was recently named one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma.

We offer a variety of positions in different departments, with opportunities for growth and development within our company. Today we are highlighting Brad from our Product Specialist department.

Name: Brad

Position: Product Specialist, also known as a PS

How long have you worked for 180 Medical: 2 years and 4 months

What you do as a Product Specialist: My primary responsibility is to call on new customers to educate them on different types of urinary catheter products and help them determine which product is best for their individual urological needs.

What is your favorite thing about 180 Medical: My favorite thing about 180 Medical is definitely the environment. Basically, it is like we are all one big family.

Why you like working for 180 Medical: I enjoy working at 180 Medical because everyone truly cares about every single patient that is referred over to us. Every day I go home knowing that I made a difference in someone’s life.

Something unique about 180 Medical:
The most unique aspect of 180 Medical to me would have to be the story of Todd Brown. He started off like many of our customers, overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn. From his issues as a patient of needing catheters, he saw a need and started a highly successful business, not emphasizing financial success but instead on giving the best customer service in the industry. It is a remarkable story.

Favorite patient story-or favorite story about how you helped a customer: It is really hard to pinpoint one particular customer because we do have so many amazing patients we come across. However, the one patient I will always remember is a lady who has to use catheters 10Xs per day. She called in very upset about the news of having to catheterize. She had a history of frequent infections and basically was down on life. Well, I introduced hydrophilic catheters to this lady and she told me it changed her life. It helped with her level of discomfort and more importantly it greatly reduced her amount of infections. She still calls in from time and time and always makes sure that whoever she speaks to tells me hey from her and to let me know she called in. She showed me how my job as a product specialist can truly impact a customer’s life and turn his/her life around.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Well, I was born and raised in a a small town about two hours from Atlanta, Georgia. I have two sisters and a brother. I love basketball and even received a scholarship to play in college. I lived in Georgia my entire life until I moved to Oklahoma a little over two years ago. I went to the University of Georgia most of my collegiate life, then graduated from a smaller college with my Bachelor’s degree. I am a huge Georgia Bulldog fan! My favorite thing to do is to go to the beach. This is definitely what I miss the most about living in the southeast. As far as my career is concerned, it is my ultimate goal to move into an outside representative role with 180 Medical.

American Urological Association (AUA) Conference 2013

by kier April 23 2013 10:00
Many of the top urologists in the world are traveling to San Diego this weekend for the AUA (American Urological Association) 2013 Annual Meeting.

This is the world's largest urological meeting that allows urologists to access groundbreaking research, new guidelines and the latest advances in urologic medicine. The meeting offers educational opportunities to the urologists and much more.
American Urological Association Conference
180 Medical is an exhibitor at this event to enable us to meet with urologists and show them how our services can help their practice. Not only is it 180 Medical's goal to make the urology office staff's job easier and save them time, but we strive to make the patient's life easier too. With our state-of-the-art self-catheterization instructional brochures and our trained catheter specialists on staff ready to help, 180 Medical goes the extra mile to make sure the customer's adjustment to using catheters is as smooth as possible.

DEHP: What It Is & Why Medical Carries Products Without It

by admin April 18 2013 13:54
natal catheters and dehp 180 Medical cares about the well-being of our patients, and we are constantly researching to ensure we offer you the safest urinary supplies. It is also our goal to educate our patients as much as possible.

The safety of using DEHP, di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, has been debated, so here's some helpful information about this compound.

DEHP & FDA Concerns

From the FDA: DEHP, also known as di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, is a compound used as a plasticizer (softener) in many products made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, including some medical devices. Among these are:

IV bags and tubing   Umbilical artery catheters  Peritoneal dialysis bags and tubing
Tubing used during Hemodialysis Blood bags and tubing Heart bypass machine tubing
Nasogastric feeding tubes
Respiratory tubing Internal nutrition feeding bags

The FDA believes the greatest concern would be for very young male infants who are critically ill and have prolonged exposure to multiple devices containing DEHP, and is listed as a known chemical to cause cancer and toxicity in males.

DEHP in Intermittent Catheters

In urological supplies, the most commonly used intermittent catheter is a PVC catheter. This type of catheter is slightly stiffer than latex catheters, which can ease insertion, for some patients. PVC is a plastic polymer that is used in a wide array of products. Unplasticized PVC is hard and brittle at room temperature. DEHP is a plasticizer—a softener that has been added to the flexibility of the polymer, and has been added to most medical devices. DEHP in PVC and its potential harm have been debated for some time now. It is mainly a concern for PVC products that hold and store liquids that then go into the body.

Intermittent catheters are in the body for short increments of time and do not store liquids, so the harmful exposure is minimal. The material is not conducive to indwelling use, but is thermo sensitive, and therefore becomes soft and pliable at body temperature. However, if a PVC catheter is reused it can become encrusted. Urinary bladder catheter encrustations are known complications of long-term urinary catheterization, which is commonly seen in clinical practice. These encrustations can impede deflation of the balloon and therefore cause problems in the removal of the catheter.

180 Medical carries urinary catheters without DEHP. Follow the links below for more information.

More DEHP information from FDA:

Cure Medical DEHP-Free Catheter Products:

About the Author:

Trish has worked for 180 Medical for almost three years, as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska, with her husband and daughters.

Traveling by Air with Urinary Catheters

by billf April 16 2013 11:07

Traveling with urinary catheters can be a bit intimidating, especially for people who are new to cathing. 180 Medical likes to keep our patients well informed, and up to speed with the latest urological research, news, and tips.

I spoke with Bill, who works for 180 Medical, for some tips on cathing while traveling. He was kind enough to give some very helpful tips. Bill was injured in a motocross accident over 23 years ago and has real world experience traveling as a quadriplegic.

bill f 180 medical employeeContact the Airline

One of the first things to do is to contact the airline you will be traveling with and inquire if the airline has any special procedures for traveling with catheters. The airline should advise of procedures you should follow. Ask if the equipment you bring on board meets Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines and follow some basic hygiene steps during the flight.

I have never had a problem with the airlines questioning why I am carrying the catheters and supplies, but if you are concerned you can always contact the airline you are traveling with and let them know.

Carry-on Bag Regulations

TSA has established air travel laws and regulations pertaining to liquids. For carry-on bags, you must place all liquids of 3.4 oz or less must fit on one quart-sized, clear, plastic zipper-lock bag. If your catheters have a water packet, they would need to be placed in the clear bag. Since medications are an exception to the rule, the catheters with water packets might be okay, with doctor documentation, but check with the airline to make sure. If you have lubricant, make sure it is 3.4oz or less, and it would also need to go in a clear plastic bag. For those who use lubricant with their catheters, the airline should be okay with it as it is required to catheterize.  You should not be limited on how much you can take, but keep it with your catheters so it will be more apparent what it is used for.  I have not had a problem with leakage but it might not be a bad idea to put the lubricant into a plastic bag. 

Pack the majority of your supplies in your check in luggage, but take enough on your carry on bag to last you until you get to your destination plus a few extra. One other option would be to ship your supplies to your destination. This way you don't have to worry about carrying around the extra load in your luggage.

Bring Extra Catheters

Count the number of catheters you will need for your trip.  It is a good idea to take enough extra catheters to last an extra day or two in case of unforeseen circumstances. This also includes lubricant and other supplies you use to catheterize.

Closed System Catheters

 Many people prefer to use a more advanced catheter while traveling to try and reduce the chance of getting an infection. These catheters do not require lubricant and some are designed to where you don’t even touch the catheter which are called closed system catheters. Some people whose insurance will not cover them often purchase them just for traveling.

Antibacterial Wipes

If you will be catheterizing in the public restrooms it’s a good idea to carry some antibacterial hand wipes, such as wet ones, to wipe off your hands and urethra before catheterizing.

Restroom on Plane

If you are unable to use the restroom on the plane and your flight lasts longer than you can wait to catheterize there are a couple of options you can take.  One option is to use a Foley catheter while traveling. By doing this, you would only need to empty your leg bag if it fills to capacity before you reach your destination.  If it did fill up before landing you could always ask a stewardess for something to empty it into if necessary.  Some people will put a blanket over them and will catheterize in their seat.  

Visit the Transportation Security Administration website for more information and travel tips for carry-ons:

Editor's Additional Resources:
Delta's travel information for those with disabilities or wheelchair users
Card Issued for Air Travelers with Disabilities

About the Authors:

Bill has worked for 180 Medical for almost ten years in various positions within the company. He works at the 180 Medical corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City, OK. He often speaks to customers about adjusting to life after a spinal cord injury. Read more about Bill here.

Trish Eklund has worked for 180 Medical for almost three years, as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska, with her husband and daughters. 

Bard Touchless Closed System Catheter

by admin April 4 2013 12:42
180 Medical is dedicated to offering the best possible products to fit your urological needs and to you unique lifestyle. Closed system catheter kits allow for less mess, simplifies disposal, and reduces the risk of cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when the tip of the catheter touches the outside of the urethra, moving the bacteria into the bladder.

Bard Touchless CatheterOne popular closed system catheter on the market is the Bard Touchless Closed System. The Bard Touchless Kit has everything you need to cath in one package. The pre-lubricated catheter has a patented finger guide, a 1,100cc collection chamber with built-in sample/drainage port, one pair of gloves, povidone iodine swabs, and an under-pad.

Bard Touchless Catheter Features
Introducer Tip: Bypasses the first few mm of the urethra, which keeps the patient  from moving bacteria up from the urethra to the bladder.

Drainage Bag: Allows patient to measure, for the patient to move the catheter up the urethra without touching it, the catheter is also never exposed to anything other than a sterile bag and the urethra.

Insertion Supplies: Keeps the cathing procedure sterile.

Pre-lubricated Catheter: Allows for instant cathing, and no messing with manually lubricating catheters.

Long Bag: The bag is longer than the other closed systems to allow the bag to rest on the floor while being filled.

Finger Grip: Allows you a place to hold onto the catheter to help keep it from falling back into the bag.

How to use: The patient inserts the introducer tip into the urethra and advances the catheter through the bag. They can pull the catheter out of the bag, when done cathing to dump the urine or they may rip the bag to empty it.

Bard Touchless Introducer Tip
A few words from our founder, Todd Brown:

“My life improved drastically as I began to use a Closed System Catheter Kit. The freedom this product afforded me alone was worth the transition. I could now cath anywhere I had privacy, whether that be a restroom, a private room, or even my vehicle, if need be.”

Contact one of our catheter specialists today (877-688-2729) to find out more about closed system catheters to determine if they would be a good fit for you.


About the Author:

Trish has worked for 180 Medical for almost three years, as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska, with her husband and daughters.

The Q & A on Coude Catheters

by admin March 26 2013 08:49
180 Medical offers a wide selection of the top coudé tip catheters, available from manufacturers like Bard, Coloplast, Cure Medical, Hollister, Rusch, GentleCath, and many more.

A Coude tip catheter is a urinary catheter with a slightly curved tip that is designed for easy insertion for people with urinary tract obstructions.

Generally, coude catheters are used to pass strictures, enlarged prostates, or false passages. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate gland. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. As the prostate increases in size, it may block the urethra, causing a problem urinating.

There are different types of coudé catheters available such as an olive-tip, tapered-tip, or whistle tip. Coudé catheters can also have a guide stripe that allows you to monitor the catheter tip more easily during insertion.

Coudé catheters come in different types of catheter products such as closed system kits, hydrophilic catheters, and intermittent straight catheters. Click the links below to view different types of coudé catheters available to you.

Closed Systems With Coudé Tip
Hydrophilic Catheters With Coudé Tip
Coudé Tip Intermittent Catheters

About the Author:

Trish has worked for 180 Medical for almost three years, as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska, with her husband and daughters.