Prevalence of self-reported complications associated with intermittent catheterization in wheelchair athletes with spinal cord injury
Walter Matthias, Ian Ruiz, Jordan W Squair, Luis A S Rios, Marcio A Averbeck, Andrei V Krassioukov
Study design: Cross-sectional study.
Objectives: To identify the prevalence of complications associated with intermittent catheterization in wheelchair athletes with spinal cord injury (SCI).
Setting: International and national sporting events.
Methods: A total 130 competitive wheelchair athletes living with SCI completed a self-reported questionnaire during international or national sporting events. The questionnaire collected information regarding demographics, injury characteristics, method of bladder emptying, and complications related to intermittent catheterization.
Results: Overall, 84% (109/130) of wheelchair athletes used intermittent catheterization. Within this group, 77% of athletes (84/109) experienced at least one complication associated with intermittent catheterization. Twenty-seven percent (29/109) sustained urethral injuries and 63% (69/109) had at least one episode of urinary tract infection during the last 12 months. Almost one-fourth of male athletes (22/95, 23%) had a history of inflammation / infection of genital organs associated with intermittent catheterization.
Conclusions: Here we report a high prevalence of self-reported complications associated with intermittent catheterization in wheelchair athletes with SCI. Considering their potential impact on lower urinary tract function, athletic performance, and health, further studies are needed to assess the role of preventative strategies to reduce complications related to intermittent catheterization in wheelchair athletes with SCI.
Sponsorship: Coloplast Brazil and Instituto Lado a Lado pela Vida (a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization based in São Paulo) and Wellspect provided funding for this study.