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the introduction of a special device (catheter) into the natural ducts and cavities of the human body in order to irrigate them and evacuate their contents.
All the requirements of asepsis (sterilization of the catheters, treatment of the hands and of the inlets) must be observed in catheterization. In treating ear diseases, physicians use metal catheters with a knoblike end to ventilate the tympanic cavity through the eustachian tube. In cardiology, a special catheter is inserted into the heart to establish a diagnosis and, if required, to determine the nature and scope of surgical intervention. The cardiac catheter is a thin tube 100–125 cm long made of a specially treated silk material that is impermeable to X rays; an attached movable tip ensures the proper passage of the device through the vessel. In cardiac catheterization, blood specimens can be taken from the heart’s cavities, a contrast medium can be introduced into the cavities for subsequent X-ray examination, and blood pressure can be measured in the cavities at the various phases of cardiac activity. In urology, the ureters can be cathe-terized with a special catheterization cystoscope. The procedure is used to determine the patency of the ureters, to collect urine separately from each kidney, and to inject a contrast medium into the renal pelvis for subsequent X-ray examination (pyelography).
Catheterization is performed with a tubelike device made of rubber, silk cloth impregnated with varnish, or metal. Catheters differ in shape and thickness; these values are measured by numbers on a special scale. Urologists ordinarily use catheters of rubber or metal that are 24–36 cm long for the male and 14—16 cm long for the female. Catheters with a small balloon at the end are also used. When inflated with air or filled with fluid, the balloon prevents the device from slipping out. Ureteral catheters are made of a silk material impregnated with varnish; they are 40–45 cm long. The length of a catheter is usually marked off in centimeters so that it can be inserted to a precise distance.
REFERENCESMnogotomnoe rukovodstvo po khirurgii, vol. 9. Moscow, 1959. Pages 62–64.
Rukovodstvo po klinicheskoi urologii. Moscow, 1969. Pages 150–51.
V. G. TSOMYK