Post-operative urinary retention
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Post-operative urinary retention

Martin Steggall Associate dean, director of undergraduate studies, School of Health Sciences, City University, London.
Colm Treacy Lecturer, School of Health Sciences, City University, London
Mark Jones Senior lecturer and head of practice education, School of Health Sciences, City University, London

Urinary retention is a common complication of surgery and anaesthesia. The risk of post-operative urinary retention is increased following certain surgical procedures and anaesthetic modalities, and with patients’ advancing age. Patients at increased risk of post-operative urinary retention should be identified before surgery or the condition should be identified and treated in a timely manner following surgery. If conservative measures do not help the patient to pass urine, the bladder will need to be drained using either an intermittent catheter or an indwelling urethral catheter, which can result in catheter-associated urinary tract infections. This article provides an overview of normal bladder function, risk factors for developing post-operative urinary retention, and treatment options. Guidance drawn from the literature aims to assist nurses in identifying at-risk patients and inform patient care.

Correspondence M.J.Steggall@city.ac.uk

Nursing Standard. 28, 5,43-48. doi: 10.7748/ns2013.10.28.5.43.e7926

Received: 23 May 2013

Accepted: 23 July 2013

Published in print: 02 October 2013

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review