Researchers are developing a product that they say could significantly improve quality of life for catheter users.
Named “Uroglide”, it is a new coating for catheters that aims to make insertion easier, less painful and with reduced risk of inflammation or infection.
Uroglide-coated catheters are currently undergoing independent testing and could be available both on the NHS and privately by next year, said the researchers from Queen’s University Belfast.
“It should improve the patient’s experience and make a life-changing difference to their dignity and health”
The technology was developed by Professor Colin McCoy and Dr Nicola Irwin, who have now won an £85,000 “enterprise fellowship” from the Royal Academy of Engineering to further develop their idea over the next 12 months.
Professor McCoy noted that intermittent self-catheterisation had become “the norm” for patients with poor bladder control.
“Regular insertion of poorly lubricated catheters, however, is painful and can lead to difficult-to-treat urethral complications, such as damage, bleeding and inflammation,” he said.
“The coatings that are currently used dry out quickly and they’ve changed very little in over a decade,” said Professor McCoy.
He added: “We developed a new coating that’s cheaper than the industry standard, yet stays wet for longer, is more slippery, and adheres strongly to the catheter.
“By easing insertion and removal, it should improve the patient’s experience and make a life-changing difference to their dignity and health,” he said.