Foley Indwelling Catheters – Buying Guide

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    Introduction     |    Types Of Catheters      |    Diameter Of the Catheter      |   Top-Selling Foley Catheters      

What is a Foley Catheter and how does it work?

Foley Indwelling Catheter is a soft, flexible tube used to drain urine out from the bladder. It is connected to a urine collection bag for safe storage of urine. Foley catheter features a tiny retention balloon which is filled with sterile water to prevent the catheter from slipping out of the bladder. It can be used if you are unable to urinate properly or cannot control the urine flow due to some infection, surgery, injury or a swollen prostate gland. Since the Foley catheter resides in the bladder for a long period, it is also called indwelling catheter.

A Foley catheter is passed through the urethra and into the bladder. The tube has two separated channels, or lumens, running down its length. One lumen is open at both ends, and allows urine to drain out into a collection bag. The other lumen has a valve on the outside end and connects to a balloon at the tip; the balloon is inflated with sterile saline when it lies inside the bladder, in order to stop it from slipping out. Foley catheters are commonly made from silicone rubber or natural rubber.

How to Choose the Right Foley Catheter?

For successful Foley catheterization, it very important to choose the Foley catheter wisely. Selection should be based on the type of catheter, balloon size, catheter length, tip design, charrier size and catheter material.

Types of Catheters

There are three main types of Foley urinary catheters, namely, two-way Foley catheter, three-way Foley catheter and temperature sensing Foley catheter.

  • Two-way Foley Catheter: Two-way Foley catheter consists of two channels, out of which one is used to drain urine and other is used to fill the retention balloon. Retention balloon is inflated to securely hold the Foley indwelling catheter. Two-way catheter helps in the management of voiding dysfunction.
 Two-way Foley Catheter
  • Three-way Foley Catheter: Three-way Foley catheter, as the name suggests, has three channels. Out of these three channels, one is used to drain urine, the second is used to inflate the balloon, and the third is used to irrigate the bladder to remove clots and debris. Three-way catheter proves to be helpful in the case of prostate tumor, urological surgery or when there is some bleeding from the bladder.
 Three-way Foley Catheter
  • Temperature Sensing Foley Catheter: Foley catheter with a temperature sensor helps in measuring the temperature of urine present inside the bladder. It can also determine the core body temperature. Temperature Sensing Foley catheter is recommended for some surgical procedures and intensive care.
 Medline 400 Series Temperature Sensing Straight Tip Foley Catheter

Balloon Size

Foley indwelling catheter comes with 5cc, 10cc and 30cc balloons. Choice of the balloon size should be made wisely because if the balloon is too large or too small, it can result into bladder complications. Larger balloons can drag the catheter due to the weight of water contained in them. They also sit higher in the bladder, resulting in urethral damage. It the balloon is inflated less or more than the said amount, it can block the drainage eyes resulting in bladder spasms.

Catheter Length

Foley urethral catheter comes in Short, Standard and Pediatric lengths.

  • Short length Foley catheter has a length of 23 - 26 cm and works best for female patients who need more freedom of movement. It should not be used for male patients because the shorter length can result in urethral trauma.
  • Standard length Foley catheter has a length of 40 - 44 cm. It suits the requirements of male and bed-ridden female patients.
  • Pediatric length Foley catheter has a length of about 30 cm and suits the requirements of pediatric patients.

Tip Design

Foley indwelling catheter is known to have 2 types of catheter tips - Nelaton tip and Tiemann tip.

  • Nelaton Tip Catheter: Nelaton tip catheter has a round, straight tip which contains two drainage eyes. This type of catheter is suitable for the routine catheterisation.
  • Tiemann Tip Catheter: Tiemann tip catheter features a curved tip which is used to negotiate difficult insertions and male prostatic curve.

Diameter of the Catheter

Foley catheter diameter is measured in French (Fr or FR) or Charriere (Ch or CH) size to denote the external diameter of the catheter. It is always wise to choose the smallest possible size that provides adequate drainage. The diameter larger than the required one can cause urethral irritation. Larger diameter catheter is used to prevent blockage in supra pubic catheterisation.

Catheter Material

Choose the catheter material that best suits your body and minimizes the chances of developing urethral irritation.

  • Plastic or PVC catheter usually has a large diameter and helps in providing good postoperative drainage.
  • Hydrogel coated latex catheter is known to be compatible with body tissues. It helps in providing improved patient comfort with less trauma and low surface friction.
  • Silicone coated latex catheter reduces the chances of encrustation with its smooth internal and external surface.

Top-Selling Foley Indwelling Catheters of 2022


How to Attach Foley Indwelling Catheter?

Instructions for Attaching the Foley Indwelling Catheter

  • To maintain sterility throughout the procedure, put on the sterile gloves.
  • Coat about 2-5 cm of the Foley urethral catheter with lubricant.
  • If male, use the non-dominant hand to hold the penis. If female, use the non-dominant hand to separate labia.
  • Use your dominant hand to clean the perineal area with a cleansing solution. Swipe the swab inner to outer and anterior to posterior for perfect cleansing.
  • Hold the catheter loosely wrapped in the palm of your dominant hand.
  • Find the urinary opening and gently insert the catheter inside it.
  • A check for proper insertion of catheter is the outflow of urine. If you see the urine flowing out, it means that the catheter is properly inserted into the bladder.
  • Inflate the balloon through the injection port with correct amount of sterile water. This will hold the catheter in place. It is suggested to fill 7-10cc of sterile water in a 5cc balloon and 30-35cc of sterile water in a 30cc balloon.
  • Pull the catheter gently to ensure that the balloon is snug against the neck of the bladder.
  • Connect urinary drainage bag to the catheter.
  • Place the drainage bag below the bladder level.

How to Remove Foley Indwelling Catheter?

Instructions for Removing the Foley Indwelling Catheter

  • It is easier to remove the Foley indwelling catheter than to insert it.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, and dry them well.
  • Take a syringe and put it in the balloon port of the catheter. Just with a push and twist motion, it will fit snugly into the port.
  • Wait till the water empties into the syringe. You may need to repeat the process depending on the size of the balloon.
  • Make sure that the amount of water you get after emptying the balloon is equal to the volume of sterile water injected.
  • Pull out the catheter after deflating the balloon.
  • Discard the catheter and syringe.
  • Wipe off any urine or spilled water with a clean towel.
  • Wash your hands again.



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