Prevention of infection is of paramount importance to leg bag users, particularly those who are using them in conjunction with an indwelling catheter.
There are various features available intended to reduce the risk of infection:
A non-return flap valve which is designed to help reduce backflow of urine up the tubing when the bag is moved by users or carers.
A sampling port and/or a tap with an outlet sleeve which allows the overnight bag to be connected to the body-worn bag. This linkage provides a mechanism to maintain a closed catheter drainage system designed to minimise the risk of cross infection by reducing the handling of the catheter. The night bag is attached to leg bag sleeve and the leg bag tap is opened. The urine then flows freely from the sheath or catheter through the leg bag into the night drainage bag.
A separate tap and outlet spout - bags that have the tap and outlet spout widely separated are thought to be most effective at preventing contamination of the leg bag spouts1.
It is usually recommended that drainage bags are changed every five to seven days2. This is generally based on the manufacturers' guidelines and expert opinion. Currently there is little research evidence to suggest that they should be changed more or less frequently.
There is no evidence that the practice of adding antiseptic agents to drainage bags reduces bacteriuria or catheter-associated infection3
Reuse of bags is not recommended. Users who purchase their own bags and struggle to afford them, do reuse them for longer than the recommended period or attempt to wash the bags out with a variety of solutions to clean them. A study of vinyl leg and night bags found no difference in bag and urine culture contamination rates, when bags were cleaned with a dilute bleach solution (1 in 10 sodium hypochlorite) daily for a four week period compared to bags that were cleaned daily but changed weekly4.
There are occasional reports from healthcare professionals of purple discolouration in urine drainage bags often called purple urine bag syndrome (PUBS).
It is thought that this occurs in users who have highly alkaline urine (high pH) and high bacterial counts56.
There is no evidence to suggest that it has a negative effect on a user's health or functioning of the bag/drainage system although there may be an associated unpleasant smell.
Volume and Capacity
Sterile and Non-sterile
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