What Is Catheter

What Is A Catheter?: Associated Risks

The catheter is a cylindrical, hollow and generally flexible instrument designed for insertion into a body cavity, a body duct or one of its vessels. The purposes of this operation can be:

  • diagnostics (taking blood samples and monitoring organ functions):
  • therapeutic (promote spontaneous or aspirated drainage of the contents, introduce fluids, nutrients and medications):
  • surgical (microsurgery or administration of anaesthetics , as in the epidural catheter).

Urinary Catheters , For Example, Are Introduced Into The Bladder Through The Urethra For The Purpose Of Draining Its Contents; This Maneuver Can Be Useful To Overcome The Patient’S Inability To Urinate Or To Empty The Bladder And Monitor Diuresis Before Surgical Interventions.

Over the years, numerous types of catheters have been developed, in order to best satisfy the various needs of use; they differ based on the caliber, the material used and its flexibility, the length and number of ways.


The process of inserting a catheter is called catheterization .

In cardiac catheterization, the catheter is typically introduced into the veins or arteries of the arms or legs, then advanced until it reaches the chambers of the heart . Here the catheter provides important data on the functionality and health of the organ.

In angioplasty , a balloon catheter is introduced into a blood vessel with the aim of eliminating, or at least reducing, the narrowing of the vessel caliber. Once the operation site has been reached, to more or less completely restore the patency of the obstructed vessel, the balloon is inflated at controlled pressure.

Associated Risks

Especially in hospitalized patients, the application of a catheter is associated with an increased risk of more or less severe infections. This risk is contained by using the catheter only when there is a real need, respecting certain hygiene rules when inserting it (sterile devices, thorough hand washing , etc.) and removing it as soon as the indication for use ceases to exist.

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