Continuous Bladder Irrigation: A Comprehensive Guide

Explore the Continuous Bladder Irrigation (CBI), its procedures, benefits, and potential complications. Learn about the importance of CBI in maintaining a healthy urinary system. Expert insights and FAQs included.

Continuous bladder irrigation (CBI) is a medical procedure that involves flushing the bladder with sterile liquid to prevent or remove blood clots after surgery on the urinary system. This procedure is typically performed in a hospital setting and may last for several days.

Understanding the Urinary System and Bladder Irrigation

The urinary system is responsible for filtering waste products from the blood and producing urine. Urine is stored in the bladder, a balloon-like organ located in the lower abdomen. When you need to urinate, the bladder muscles contract, forcing urine out through the urethra, a tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body.

CBI is often used after surgery on the urinary tract, such as bladder surgery or prostate surgery, to prevent or remove blood clots that can form in the bladder. Blood clots can obstruct the flow of urine, leading to pain, infection, and kidney damage.

How Does Continuous Bladder Irrigation Work?

The procedure involves a continuous flow of a sterile solution into the bladder through a catheter, helping to prevent blockages and ensure adequate drainage. The solution used can vary depending on the specific medical situation, and the flow rate is carefully monitored to optimize effectiveness.

Equipment used in CBI

CBI requires specialized equipment, including a three-way catheter, irrigation solution, and a drainage bag. The catheter is strategically placed in the bladder, allowing for both the drainage of urine and the introduction of the irrigation solution.

Applications of Continuous Bladder Irrigation

Postoperative Care

After certain urological surgeries, patients are prone to blood clot formation in the bladder. CBI is a proactive measure to prevent clots, reducing the risk of complications and ensuring a smoother recovery.

Managing Hematuria

Hematuria, or blood in the urine, can be a distressing symptom. CBI aids in managing hematuria by continuously irrigating the bladder, minimizing blood clot formation, and promoting healing.

Addressing Urinary Obstruction

For individuals dealing with urinary obstruction, CBI serves as a therapeutic intervention. The continuous flow of sterile solution helps alleviate obstruction, restoring normal urinary function.

Benefits of Continuous Bladder Irrigation

CBI offers several benefits for individuals recovering from urinary tract surgery:

  • Prevents blood clot formation: The continuous flow of sterile liquid helps to dislodge and remove blood clots from the bladder.
  • Promotes urine flow: By clearing blood clots and debris, CBI helps to maintain unobstructed urine flow, reducing the risk of urinary tract infections and kidney damage.
  • Facilitates medication administration: Medications can be added to the sterile irrigation solution to directly target the bladder for localized treatment.
  • Soothes bladder irritation: The gentle flushing action of CBI can help to soothe an irritated or inflamed bladder lining.

Risks and Complications of Continuous Bladder Irrigation

While CBI is generally a safe procedure, there are a few potential risks and complications associated with it:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI): The introduction of catheters and sterile solutions can increase the risk of bacteria entering the urinary tract and causing an infection.
  • Catheter blockage: Blood clots or debris can accumulate in the catheter, blocking the flow of urine and requiring removal or replacement of the catheter.
  • Bladder perforation or tear: In rare instances, the catheter may inadvertently perforate or tear the bladder wall, requiring further medical intervention.
  • Paraphimosis: For uncircumcised men, CBI can increase the risk of paraphimosis, a condition where the foreskin retracts behind the glans penis and cannot be pulled back into place.

Procedure Details: What to Expect During and After CBI

Before CBI:

  • A catheter will be inserted into the bladder through the urethra.
  • The catheter has three ports: one for draining urine, one for inflating a balloon to keep the catheter in place, and one for infusing sterile solution into the bladder.

During CBI:

  • Sterile saline solution or medication, if prescribed, will be continuously infused into the bladder through the catheter.
  • The healthcare provider will monitor the color and consistency of the urine, ensuring it flows freely.
  • The drainage bag will be emptied regularly to collect urine and debris.

After CBI:

  • CBI is typically discontinued once urine is clear or only slightly pink for an extended period.
  • The catheter will be removed, and the patient will be able to void normally.

Recovery and Outlook

CBI is a well-tolerated procedure, and most patients do not experience significant discomfort or recovery time. However, some individuals may experience mild discomfort or pain from the catheter, which typically subsides after the procedure.

When to Seek Medical Attention

It is important to contact your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following after CBI:

  • Fever or chills
  • Severe pain in the bladder or abdomen
  • Persistent blood in the urine
  • Difficulty or inability to urinate


Continuous bladder irrigation is a valuable procedure for preventing and managing blood clots after urinary tract surgery. By promoting urine flow, removing blood clots, and facilitating medication administration, CBI helps to enhance healing and reduce complications.


Is CBI a painful procedure?

CBI is generally well-tolerated, and healthcare providers take measures to minimize discomfort.

How long does a typical CBI session last?

The duration of CBI sessions can vary but is typically monitored by healthcare professionals based on individual needs.

Are there long-term effects of CBI?

Long-term effects depend on the underlying condition, and healthcare providers will discuss potential outcomes during the treatment planning process.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and should not substitute professional medical advice.

Name -Parika Parika holds a Master's in Nursing and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Nursing. In addition to her clinical experience, Parika has also served as a nursing instructor for the past 10 years, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion for the nursing profession.

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