Inserting an indwelling catheter (IDC) is a common medical procedure that is often performed poorly and inappropriately, and can lead to significant morbidity. Although most catheterisations are performed by nursing staff, medical personnel need to be aware of the procedure, products and common IDC complications.
Current guidelines and literature were reviewed to outline catheterisation indications, catheter types and provide a general understanding of complications associated with IDCs for the general practitioner (GP).
There is evidence that IDCs are often used when not indicated and improperly managed when inserted. IDCs can cause significant morbidity, prolong hospital stay and increase healthcare costs. Infection and traumatic insertion are common complications; advances in catheter design have helped to limit these complications. Most complications are avoidable, do not require specialist input and can be managed by community nurses or GPs. Reviewing indications, adopting proper technique for insertion and defining management strategies can limit complications.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners 2018