What are the Risks of Reusing Catheters?

Photo of a Foley catheterReusing and recycling are important principles of eco-friendliness that can help consumers save money and the environment. However, these are not appropriate when it comes to catheters. Catheters are single-use devices (SUD) that, as the name suggests, need to be thrown away after being used once. Your medical supply company can provide enough cost-effective catheters that you do not have to consider putting your health at risk by attempting to reuse them. Here’s a brief look at the risks associated with reusing catheters:

  • Infection and Disease - Because catheters come in contact with blood, urine, tissue, and other matter, they can never be cleaned enough to encourage healthy reuse. Microorganisms such as bacteria and spongiform encephalopathies will remain in catheter tubing no matter how well you try to wash it. Inserting used catheters will introduce these pathogens to your body, doing much more harm than the good saving a few dollars will do.
  • Adverse Immune Reaction - In addition to infection, reused catheters pose a risk of adverse immune reaction to blood, pyrogens, tissue, and other kinds of organic residue. In some cases, immune reactions to any of these can be fatal. While infections can cause slow, unpleasant symptoms, an immune reaction can quickly lead to seizure or sudden death.
  • Decreased Functionality - Just as important as reducing infection risk is assuring that your catheters and attached devices are working properly. Rewashed or reprocessed catheters pose added risk for rupture or compromise. Leaked blood or bodily fluid drainage can be unsightly and unhealthy whether spilled around your room or, worse still, inside of your body. These risks are not worth saving money or materials under any circumstances.

At ACG Medical Supply, we provide sterile catheters and tubing for a wide array of medical devices. Call us at 1-844-463-0737 or send e-mail to to learn more about our other medical products, including lift chairs, diabetic supplies, and orthopedic supports. We’re proud to help you!