Hydrophilic/Ready-to-Use Catheters

Standard hydrophilic and ready-to-use catheters are pre-lubricated, unlike their uncoated counterparts. We’re calling them “standard” here because many of the more advanced/expensive catheter types – no-touch/closed catheters or compact catheters – come with a hydrophilic coating by default.

Hydrophilic catheters and ready-to-use catheters both come with a lubricious coating already deposited on the surface of the catheter. The primary difference between the two is that hydrophilic catheters typically come with a wetting pouch of saline or sterile water. To use them, you have to pop the pouch, soak the catheter, and then insert it. By contrast, most ready-to-use catheters come in a foil pouch (to prevent evaporation), already lubed up and ready to use by the time you open the packaging.

There’s no question that using a hydrophilic catheter is less of a pain than using an uncoated one that you need to manually lubricate. Hydrophilic catheters tend to be stiffer, which lends itself to easier insertion, and tend to be more considered in their packaging (featuring easy-open cut out tabs for people with limited dexterity) and accessories (insertion sleeves are common additions to hydrophilic catheters).

Sometimes though, the packaging can still be a bit confusing – we’ve accidentally gotten saline or water all over ourselves when testing new products. Increased complexity can lead to errors during manufacturing that could ultimately result in you getting defective products. If you let the catheter dry out while getting ready to catheterize, the hydrophilic coating actually gets quite sticky. Hydrophilic catheters do tend to be more expensive than their uncoated counterparts.

Hydrophilic catheters that have been reviewed on this site include:

Ready-to-use catheters that have been reviewed on this site include:

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