Urinary retention in thoracic epidural patients

Choi S, Mahon P, Awad IT. Neuraxial anesthesia and bladder dysfunction in the perioperative period: a systematic review. Can J Anaesth. 2012 Jul;59(7):681-703. Erratum in: Can J Anaesth. 2017 Dec 18. Full-text for Emory users.

Principal findings: Our search yielded 94 studies, and in 16 of these studies, the authors reported time to micturition after intrathecal anesthesia of varying local anesthetics and doses. Intrathecal injections were performed in 41 of these studies, epidural anesthesia/analgesia was used in 39 studies, and five studies involved both the intrathecal and epidural routes. Meta-analysis was not possible because of the heterogeneity of interventions and reported outcomes. The duration of detrusor dysfunction after intrathecal anesthesia is correlated with local anesthetic dose and potency. The incidence of urinary retention displays a similar trend and is further increased by the presence of neuraxial opioids, particularly long-acting variants. Urinary tract infection secondary to catheterization occurred rarely.

Conclusions: Neuraxial anesthesia/analgesia results in transient detrusor dysfunction. The duration of dysfunction depends on the potency and dose of medication used; however, it does not appear to result in significant morbidity.


Allen MS, et al. Optimal Timing of Urinary Catheter Removal After Thoracic Operations: A Randomized Controlled Study. Ann Thorac Surg. 2016 Sep;102(3):925-930. Full-text for Emory users.

Results: The study enrolled 374 patients, 217 men (58%) and 157 women (42%). The 247 eligible and evaluated patients, 141 (57.1%) men and 106 (42.9%) women, were a median age of 61.5 years (range, 21 to 87 years). There were no statistically significant differences in any of the preoperative or operative categories between the two groups. Median length of stay was 5 days (range, 2 to 42 days) for all patients, and there was no difference between the two groups. Postoperatively, 19 patients (7.7%) required urinary catheter reinsertion after it was removed. A significantly greater number of patients in the early removal group required reinsertion of the urinary catheter (15 [12.4%] vs 4 [3.2%]); p = 0.0065). Patients whose urinary catheter was removed within 48 hours of the operation had a much higher rate of bladder scans postoperatively (59.5% [n = 72]) and required more in-and-out catheterization than those whose urinary catheter was removed 6 hours after the epidural analgesia was discontinued (31.0% [n = 39]; p < 0.0001). The only documented urinary tract infection in the entire cohort occurred in a patient whose urinary catheter was removed within 48 hours after the operation. No urinary tract infections developed in the 126 patients whose urinary catheter remained in place until the epidural catheter was removed.

Conclusions: In a randomized control trial, patients with an epidural catheter in place after a general thoracic surgical operation have a higher rate of urinary problems when the urinary catheter is removed early, while the epidural catheter is still in place, compared with patients whose urinary catheter is removed after the epidural analgesia is discontinued.

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Article of interest: Role of antibiotic prophylaxis for the prevention of intravascular catheter-related infection

Carratalà J. Role of antibiotic prophylaxis for the prevention of intravascular catheter-related infection. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2001;7 Suppl 4:83-90. Free full-text.

“A plausible explanation for the failure to reduce catheter-related bacteremia with this prophylactic approach probably lies in the mechanism by which catheter-related infection occurs. Thus, it is known that in long-term central venous catheters, bacteria are more likely to be introduced during and following catheter hub manipulation than via spread from the skin insertion site or from tunnel infection. On the other hand, the systemic administration of prophylactic glycopeptides may lead to the emergence of resistant organisms, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommend against its use [55]. Therefore, the use of systemic glycopeptides to prevent intravascular catheter-related infections is not recommended.” (p. 85)

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Risk of bloodstream infections by intravascular device or insertion site

Maki DG, Kluger DM, Crnich CJ. The risk of bloodstream infection in adults with different intravascular devices: a systematic review of 200 published prospective studies. Mayo Clin Proc. 2006 Sep;81(9):1159-71. Full-text for Emory users.

Results: Point incidence rates of IVD-related BSI were lowest with peripheral Intravenous catheters (0.1%, 0.5 per 1000 IVD-days) and midline catheters (0.4%, 0.2 per 1000 catheter-days). Far higher rates were seen with short-term noncuffed and nonmedicated central venous catheters (CVCs) (4.4%, 2.7 per 1000 catheter-days). Arterial catheters used for hemodynamic monitoring (0.8%, 1.7 per 1000 catheter-days) and peripherally inserted central catheters used in hospitalized patients (2.4%, 2.1 per 1000 catheter-days) posed risks approaching those seen with short-term conventional CVCs used in the Intensive care unit. Surgically implanted long-term central venous devices–cuffed and tunneled catheters (22.5%, 1.6 per 1000 IVD-days) and central venous ports (3.6%, 0.1 per 1000 IVD-days)–appear to have high rates of Infection when risk Is expressed as BSIs per 100 IVDs but actually pose much lower risk when rates are expressed per 1000 IVD-days. The use of cuffed and tunneled dual lumen CVCs rather than noncuffed, nontunneled catheters for temporary hemodlalysis and novel preventive technologies, such as CVCs with anti-infective surfaces, was associated with considerably lower rates of catheter-related BSI.

Maki, et al. p. 1162

Conclusions: Expressing risk of IVD-related BSI per 1000 IVD-days rather than BSIs per 100 IVDs allows for more meaningful estimates of risk. These data, based on prospective studies In which every IVD in the study cohort was analyzed for evidence of infection by microbiologically based criteria, show that all types of IVDs pose a risk of IVD-related BSI and can be used for benchmarking rates of infection caused by the various types of IVDs In use at the present time. Since almost all the national effort and progress to date to reduce the risk of IVD-related Infection have focused on short-term noncuffed CVCs used in Intensive care units, Infection control programs must now strive to consistently apply essential control measures and preventive technologies with all types of IVDs.


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WHO Global Guidelines for the Prevention of SSIs: Antimicrobial prophylaxis in the presence of a drain and wound drain removal

Global Guidelines for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018. Web Appendix 27, Summary of a systematic review on antimicrobial prophylaxis in the presence of a drain and wound drain removal.

In conclusion, the available evidence can be summarized as follows:

Prolonged antibiotic prophylaxis in the presence of a wound drain vs. perioperative prophylaxis alone (PICO question 1, comparison 1)

Overall, a low quality of evidence shows that prolonged antibiotic prophylaxis in the presence of a wound drain has neither benefit nor harm in reducing the SSI rate when compared to perioperative prophylaxis alone (single dose before incision and possible intraoperative additional dose/s according to the duration of the operation).

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Early diagnosis and risk factors of necrotizing soft tissue infection

Fernando SM, Tran A, Cheng W, et al. Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infection: Diagnostic Accuracy of Physical Examination, Imaging, and LRINEC Score: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Ann Surg. 2019 Jan;269(1):58-65. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000002774. Full-text for Emory users.

Conclusion: “Our systematic review found that individual physical examination signs (fever, hemorrhagic bullae, and hypotension) were poorly sensitive for diagnosis of NSTI. CT had superior sensitivity and specificity to plain radiography in diagnosing NSTI, but may not be readily available in all centers, and may not be suitable for unstable patients. Finally, the LRINEC score was poorly sensitive for diagnosis of NSTI, suggesting that a low score is not sufficient to rule out the diagnosis.”


See also:

Abu El Hawa AA, Dekker PK, et al. Early Diagnosis and Surgical Management of Necrotizing Fasciitis of the Lower Extremities: Risk Factors for Mortality and Amputation. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2022 May;11(5):217-225.

Harasawa T, et al. Accurate and quick predictor of necrotizing soft tissue infection: Usefulness of the LRINEC score and NSTI assessment score. J Infect Chemother. 2020 Apr;26(4):331-334.

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Article of Interest: Preoperative versus postoperative radiotherapy in soft-tissue sarcoma of the limbs: a randomised trial.

O’Sullivan B, Davis AM, Turcotte R, et al. Preoperative versus postoperative radiotherapy in soft-tissue sarcoma of the limbs: a randomised trial. Lancet. 2002 Jun 29;359(9325):2235-41. Full-text for Emory users.

Findings: Median follow-up was 3·3 years (range 0·27–5·6). Four patients, all in the preoperative group, did not undergo protocol surgery and were not evaluable for the primary outcome. Of those patients who were eligible and evaluable, wound complications were recorded in 31 (35%) of 88 in the preoperative group and 16 (17%) of 94 in the postoperative group (difference 18% [95% CI 5–30], p=0·01). Tumour size and anatomical site were also significant risk factors in multivariate analysis. Overall survival was slightly better in patients who had preoperative radiotherapy than in those who had postoperative treatment (p=0·0481).

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