Comparing an integrated amphiphilic surfactant to traditional hydrophilic coatings for the reduction of catheter-associated urethral microtrauma

Jane Burns, David Pollard, Ased Ali, Colin P. McCoy, Louise Carson*, Matthew P. Wylie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Hydrophilic-coated intermittent catheters have improved the experience of intermittent urinary catheterization for patients compared to conventional gel-lubricated uncoated catheters. However, the incorporation of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) within hydrophilic coatings can lead to significant issues with coating dry-out. Consequently, increased force on catheter withdrawal may cause complications, including urethral microtrauma and pain. Standard methods of evaluating catheter lubricity lack physiological relevance and an understanding of the surface interaction with the urethra. The tribological performance and urethral interaction of commercially available hydrophilic PVP-coated catheters and a coating-free integrated amphiphilic surfactant (IAS) catheter were evaluated by using a biomimetic urethral model designed from a modified coefficient of friction (CoF) assay. T24 human urothelial cells were cultured on customized silicone sheets as an alternate countersurface for CoF testing. Hydrophilic PVP-coated and coating-free IAS catheters were hydrated and the CoF obtained immediately following hydration, or after 2 min, mimicking in vivo indwell time for urine drainage. The model was observed for urethral epithelial cell damage postcatheterization. The majority of hydrophilic PVP-coated catheters caused significantly greater removal of cells from the monolayer after 2 min indwell time, compared to the IAS catheter. Hydrophilic PVP-coated catheters were shown to cause more cell damage than the coating-free IAS catheter. A biomimetic urethral model provides a more physiologically relevant model for understanding the factors that govern the frictional interface between a catheter surface and urethral tissue. From these findings, the use of coating-free IAS catheters instead of hydrophilic PVP-coated catheters may help reduce urethral microtrauma experienced during catheter withdrawal from the bladder, which may lead to a lower risk of infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22410-22422
Number of pages13
JournalACS Omega
Issue number20
Early online date09 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2024


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