Virtually every person with a spinal cord injury (SCI) suffers from a neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction (NLUTD). In the long term, about 15% of persons with SCI depend on indwelling (suprapubic or transurethral) catheters for bladder management. About 50% of these patients suffer from catheter encrustation and blockage, which may become a vital threat for persons with SCI, as it can lead to septicemia or autonomic dysreflexia. Until today, no prophylaxis of catheter encrustations with an evidence-based proof of efficacy exists.
The homeopathic remedy Hydrastis, made from the goldenseal root, is used for the treatment of thick, mucous urine sediment. In four patients with tetraplegia (three female, one male) who managed NLUTD by suprapubic catheters, recurrent encrustations and catheter blockage occurred despite irrigation and medical treatment. Surgical urinary diversion was envisioned. Applying Hydrastis C30 once weekly as a long-term medication, in three of the four patients, catheter obstructions ceased, with a follow-up for at least 1 year. One patient is awaiting ileal conduit surgery.
According to the results of our case series, the application of Hydrastis seems to be beneficial in the prevention of encrustations of indwelling catheters in patients with SCI. As the treatment was effective and well tolerated, the problem is frequent, and effective solutions are scarce, a prospective trial seems justified.
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Pannek, J., Pannek-Rademacher, S. Usefulness of Hydrastis for the prevention of encrustation of long-term indwelling catheters in persons with neurogenic bladder dysfunction: a case series. Spinal Cord Ser Cases 7, 66 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41394-021-00433-2