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Editor's Correspondence
April 9, 2001

Do Silver Alloy Catheters Increase the Risk of Systemic Argyria?

Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(7):1014-1015. doi:

Saint et al1 focus on using silver alloy urinary catheters to decrease the risk of urinary tract infection in catheterized patients. They felt it was better to use silver-coated catheters instead of antibiotic-coated catheters because of the fear that resistance to the antibiotics would develop. They did not look at potential complications from exposure to silver alloy of a mucus membrane such as the urethra. Argyria, the name of the condition that occurs when silver is deposited in the body, can be a local or systemic problem. When a mucous membrane is exposed, argyria tends to be systemic and can lead to problems such as nausea, constipation, and even loss of night vision.2

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