Indwelling urethral catheter and mortality in frail elderly women living in community

Francesco Landi, Matteo Cesari, Graziano Onder, Valentina Zamboni, Christian Barillaro, Fabrizia Lattanzio, Roberto Bernabei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Urinary incontinence is one of the most common, disruptive and often disabling conditions affecting frail older people living in community. The aims of present study were to describe the prevalence of bladder catheter in a population of older women living in community and to examine the relationship between urinary catheter and mortality. Methods: This was an observational cohort study. We analyzed data from the Italian Silver Network Home Care project that collected data on patients admitted to Home Care programs. A total of twelve Home Health Agencies participated in such project evaluating the implementation of the Minimum Data Set for Home Care (MDS-HC) instrument. A total of 1,004 women were enrolled in the present study. The main outcome measures were prevalence of bladder catheter and 1-year survival according to catheterization. Results: The prevalence of incontinent patients with bladder catheter was 38.1%. Incontinent patients with indwelling bladder catheter did not show significant difference for age and comorbidity while they showed a significant higher level of physical and functional impairment, as expressed by higher score in activities of daily living (ADL) scale (6.5 ± 1.3 vs. 5.5 ± 2.2, P <0.001) and higher prevalence of sensory impairment, pressure ulcers (44% vs. 12%, P <0.001), and urinary tract infections (21% vs. 10%, P <0.001). After adjusting for age and for all the variables significantly different between catheterized and not-catheterized subjects at baseline, subjects with indwelling bladder catheter were more likely to die compared to those without catheter (RR, 1.44; 95% CI 1.01-2.07). Conclusions: Catheterization has an important prognostic implication for frail old women living in the community, independent of age and other clinical and functional variables. A failure in decreasing the unnecessary bladder catheter use and the duration of catheterization among frail incontinent women should be considered an indicator of poor quality of care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-701
Number of pages5
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Bladder catheter
  • Frail elderly
  • Geriatric assessment
  • Home care
  • MDS
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Nephrology
  • Urology


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