Prophylactic Ureteral Catheters for Colectomy: A National Surgical Quality Improvement Program-Based Analysis

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Despite improvement in technique and technology, using prophylactic ureteral catheters to avoid iatrogenic ureteral injury during colectomy remains controversial.


The aim of this study was to evaluate outcomes and costs attributable to prophylactic ureteral catheters with colectomy.


This was a retrospective study.


The study was conducted at a single tertiary care center.


The colectomy-targeted American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database from 2012 to 2014 was queried.


The primary end point was the rate of 30-day ureteral injury after colectomy. Univariate and multivariate analyses determined factors associated with ureteral injury and urinary tract infection in patients undergoing colectomy.


A total of 51,125 patients were identified with a mean age of 60.9 ± 14.9 years and a BMI of 28.4 ± 6.7 k/m2; 4.90% (n = 2486) of colectomies were performed with prophylactic catheters, and 333 ureteral injuries (0.65%) were identified. Prophylactic ureteral catheters were most commonly used for diverticular disease (42.2%; n = 1048), with injury occurring most often during colectomy for diverticular disease (36.0%; n = 120). Univariate analysis of outcomes demonstrated higher rates of ileus, wound infection, urinary tract infection, urinary tract infection as reason for readmission, superficial site infection, and 30-day readmission in patients with prophylactic ureteral catheter placement. On multivariate analysis, prophylactic ureteral catheter placement was associated with a lower rate of ureteral injury (OR = 0.45 (95% CI, 0.25–0.81)).


This was a retrospective study using a clinical data set.


Here, prophylactic ureteral catheters were used in 4.9% of colectomies and most commonly for diverticulitis. On multivariate analysis, prophylactic catheter placement was associated with a lower rate of ureteral injury. Additional research is needed to delineate patient populations most likely to benefit from prophylactic ureteral stent placement. See Video Abstract at

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