BobOct14Q. I’m 22,  in my second year as a C5-6 quad and have had a suprapubic catheter since rehab. It works well, but I’ve also had my share of UTIs — I think because some of my attendants are lax at keeping the end of the Foley tube clean when changing from leg bag to night bag, as well as plugging the tube when I bathe and dress.

A friend, also a C5-6 quad with a suprapubic, hasn’t gotten any UTIs. He attributes this to using a “closed system” made by BioFlo. It also has an extra attachment that allows him to go without a leg bag during the day — emptying his bladder every couple of hours with a lever he can manipulate with his thumb. It looks convenient, but I’ve always heard you should never clamp off a Foley for more than 15-20 minutes.

Have you heard of this system?
— Brent

A. Brent, according to Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Bladder Management for Adults with Spinal Cord Injury, A Clinical Practice Guide, long term use of indwelling catheters — whether urethral or suprapubic (a Foley catheter that enters the bladder via a stoma near the navel) — is associated with recurrent urinary tract infections.

The patented BioFlo system, for use with indwelling catheters, has been on the market for about a year. The heart of BioFlo is an inline system called the AutoValve. The drain end of a Foley tube fits onto and stays on the receiving end of the AutoValve. The discharge end fits into Quick Disconnects, which are attached to BioFlo collection bags. The unit has a spring-loaded valve that closes when a disconnect is removed (a clo