Elderly women face a high risk of inappropriate urinary catheterisations in emergency departments, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

During the study, which was conducted at St John Hospital and Medical Center, US, the researchers examined 532 instances of urinary catheter placements in the emergency room over a 12-week period.

After assessing if the catheter placements conformed to the established guidelines, researchers found that about half of the women who were 80 years or older were subjected to inappropriate catheterisations.

In addition, women were 1.9 times more likely than men to be inappropriately catheterised.

The study’s authors said inappropriate urinary catheter utilisation is a ubiquitous problem in the hospital setting.

“This translates to additional preventable or avoidable urinary tract infections and other complications related to urinary catheters,” the authors said.