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Understanding the Different Types of Catheters

by Catheter Experts October 10 2012 17:33
There are several different types of catheters, with each providing a different option for someone in need. When it comes down to it, it is important to know the difference between the different options you have for catheters and what each type is able to provide.  

There are three common types of catheters: intermittent, closed system, and hydrophilic.

An intermittent straight catheter is a straight tube made out of plastic or rubber with a softer tip. This tip might be made out of latex, silicone, or red rubber and may antibacterial. The exact material depends on the patient's needs and any possible allergies they have. The tip of the catheter is on one side, while the other side of a catheter has a funnel which allows for the discharge into the long tube. These are discarded after each use.  

Hydrophilic catheters are coated with hydrophilic polymer, which is very slippery when wet and is easier to insert, as there is less friction. As a result, hydrophilic catheters are typically far more comfortable than the other options.  

Closed system catheters are pre-lubricated and are self-contained, which allows for a more sterile environment. There is an introducer tip, which may allow the catheter to help reduce the risk of infection. There is also an attached collection bag, which can be disconnected and emptied out. This is generally used to not only measure output, but it also allows you to catheterize anywhere with privacy when a restroom is not easily available.