"Urinary tract infections drive me up the wall. You can be as careful as you like but they still strike unexpectedly.  That's the difficulty.  You cannot be sure, you cannot commit to things, and it really affects my business." Jamie Polk

The need for research

When an individual cannot control their bladder due to the damage caused by spinal cord injury, urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common and debilitating complications of paralysis.  UTI causes pain and at times significant constitutional disturbance.

According to the Unplanned Admissions Consensus Committee, the NHS spent £434 million in 2013/14 on treating 184,000 patients in unplanned admissions associated with a UTI.  UTIs are the second-largest single group of healthcare-associated infections in the UK, accounting for 19.7% of all hospital acquired infections - see the 2016 Updated Guide here

SMSR-funded studies

Feasibility study of Intra-vesical Gentamicin in the Prevention of Recurrent UTIs in People with SCI (FIGS)

Led by the London Spinal Injury Centre, Stanmore

SMSR is funding a study which seeks to help people living with spinal cord injury (SCI) who are prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs) by enabling them to self-administer treatment at home.

Researchers from Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, London, will study people with spinal cord injury who will administer antibiotic treatment in the comfort of their own home by instilling a solution via bladder catheters. The aim is to prevent the onset of urinary tract infections and help to minimise the risk of antibiotic resistance. Avoiding the morbidity of UTIs will enable SCI people to continue to work, study, and maintain a good social and family life. 

Commenting on the project, lead researcher Dr Sarah Knight, said: “We are very excited to be starting our Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research funded project. Urinary tract infections are a major factor in reducing the quality of life for people living with spinal cord injury. We hope that bladder instillation of the antibiotic gentamicin will prevent recurrent infections without the need for oral antibiotics and their associated side effects.”

The study is planned to run from August 2020 - July 2022. We will post updates here as they become available