+1 Recommend
0 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Inadvertent positioning of suprapubic catheter in urethra: a serious complication during change of suprapubic cystostomy in a spina bifida patient - a case report

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.



          Spinal cord injury patients are at risk for developing unusual complications such as autonomic dysreflexia while changing suprapubic cystostomy. We report a male patient with spina bifida in whom the Foley catheter was placed in the urethra during change of suprapubic cystostomy with serious consequences.

          Case presentation

          A male patient, born in 1972 with spina bifida and paraplaegia, underwent suprapubic cystostomy in 2003 because of increasing problems with urethral catheter. The patient would come to spinal unit for change of suprapubic catheter every four to six weeks. Two days after a routine catheter change in November 2009, this patient woke up in the morning and noticed that the suprapubic catheter had come out. He went straight to Accident and Emergency. The suprapubic catheter was changed by a health professional and this patient was sent home. But the suprapubic catheter did not drain urine. This patient developed increasing degree of pain and swelling in suprapubic region. He did not pass any urine per urethra. He felt sick and came to spinal unit five hours later. About twenty ml of contrast was injected through suprapubic catheter and X-rays were taken. The suprapubic catheter was patent; the catheter was not blocked. The Foley catheter could be seen going around in a circular manner through the urinary bladder into the urethra. The contrast did not opacify urinary bladder; but proximal urethra was seen. The tip of Foley catheter was lying in proximal urethra. The balloon of Foley catheter had been inflated in urethra. When the balloon of Foley catheter was deflated, this patient developed massive bleeding per urethra. A sterile 22 French Foley catheter was inserted through suprapubic track. The catheter drained bloody urine. He was admitted to spinal unit and received intravenous fluids and meropenem. Haematuria subsided after 48 hours. The patient was discharged home a week later in a stable condition.


          This case shows that serious complications can occur during change of suprapubic catheter in patients with neuropathic bladder. After inserting a new catheter, health professionals should observe spinal cord injury patients for at least thirty minutes and ensure that (1) suprapubic catheter drains clear urine; (2) patients do not develop abdominal spasm or discomfort; (3) symptoms and signs of sepsis or autonomic dysreflexia are absent.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 2

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: not found
          • Article: not found

          Comment on "Pitfall in insertion of suprapubic catheter in patients with spinal cord injury".

            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            Pseudo-tumours of the urinary tract in patients with spinal cord injury/spina bifida.

            To raise awareness of pseudo-tumours of urinary tract, as pseudo-tumours represent benign mass lesions simulating malignant neoplasms. Accurate diagnosis helps to avoid unnecessary surgery in spinal cord injury patients. Regional Spinal Injuries Centre, Southport, UK CASE REPORTS: Pseudo-tumour of kidney: A 58-year-old man with tetraplegia developed a right perirenal haematoma while taking warfarin; ultrasound and CT scanning showed no evidence of tumour in the right kidney. The haematoma was drained percutaneously. After 8 months, during investigation of a urine infection, ultrasound and CT scan revealed a space-occupying lesion in the mid-pole of the right kidney. CT-guided biopsy showed features suggestive of an organising haematoma; the lesion decreased in size over the next 13 months, thus supporting the diagnosis. Pseudo-tumour of urinary bladder: A frail, 34-year-old woman, who had spina bifida, marked spinal curvature and pelvic tilt, had been managing her neuropathic bladder with pads. She had recurrent vesical calculi and renal calculi. CT scan was performed, as CT would be the better means of evaluating the urinary tract in this patient with severe spinal deformity. CT scan showed a filling defect in the base of the bladder, and ultrasound revealed a sessile space-occupying lesion arising from the left bladder wall posteriorly. Flexible and, later, rigid cystoscopy and biopsy demonstrated necrotic slough and debris but no tumour. Ultrasound scan after 2 weeks showed a similar lesion, but ultrasound-guided biopsy was normal with nothing to explain the ultrasound appearances. A follow-up ultrasound scan about 7 weeks later again showed an echogenic mass, but the echogenic mass was seen to move from the left to the right side of the bladder on turning the patient, always maintaining a dependent position. The echogenic bladder mass thus represented a collection of debris, which had accumulated as a result of chronic retention of urine and physical immobility. Recognising the true, non-neoplastic nature of these lesions enabled us to avoid unnecessary surgical procedures in these patients, who were at high risk of surgical complications because of severely compromised cardiac and respiratory function.

              Author and article information

              Cases J
              Cases Journal
              BioMed Central
              22 December 2009
              : 2
              : 9372
              [1 ]Spinal Injuries Unit, District General Hospital, Town Lane, Southport PR8 6PN, UK
              [2 ]Department of Radiology, District General Hospital, Southport PR8 6PN, UK
              [3 ]Department of Urology, District General Hospital, Southport PR8 6PN, UK
              Copyright ©2009 Vaidyanathan et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

              This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

              Case Report



              Comment on this article