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Keywords:

  • suprapubic catheter;
  • ultrasonographic guidance;
  • British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS);
  • National Patient safety agency (NPSA)

What's known on the subject? and What does the study add?

The conventional ‘blind’ technique for suprapubic catheter (SPC) insertion relies on adequate filling of the bladder to displace bowel away from the site of needle puncture. However, in a small percentage of patients this fails to happen, which can occasionally lead to life-threatening bowel injury. Recently published British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS) guidelines have recommended that ultrasonography (US) may be helpful to identify bowel loops and recommends its usage whenever possible.

This paper describes the technique of US-guided needle puncture and SPC insertion to reduce the likelihood of bowel injury. The paper addresses training, equipment and logistical issues associated with this advice. We have reviewed the available publications on the outcomes from this technique and also present our experience.

Suprapubic catheter (SPC) insertion is a common method of bladder drainage in contemporary urological practice. The procedure involves insertion of a sharp trocar into the bladder percutaneously, usually by palpation, percussion or cystoscopy for guidance. Although generally considered a safe procedure, the risk of bowel injury is estimated at up to 2.4% with a mortality rate of 1.8%. Recently published British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS) guidelines have recommended that ultrasonography (US) may be helpful to identify bowel loops and recommends its usage whenever possible. The present paper describes the use of US for SPC insertion and discusses the implications of this advice. This paper is designed to support and supplement practical techniques learnt on a course and in clinical practice.