Foley catheters, also referred to simply as indwelling catheters are meant for those who require continuous catheterization. The Foley catheter is inserted into the urinary bladder and left there for a long time. Urinary catheters are used in almost all cases wherever indwelling catheters are required. Most of them have a double-lumen design and are known as two-way Foley catheters. There are some called three-way Foley catheters because they have a third rubber tubing used for continuous bladder flushing.
An indwelling Foley catheter is inserted into the bladder and held in place through a balloon placed in the bladder and then inflated by injecting sterile water into it. One end of the indwelling catheter inserted into the bladder has the balloon at its tip, while the other has two or three channels/lumens. One connects to a urinary drainage bag, while the other has a valve attached. Through this, sterile water is injected to inflate the balloon. The balloon remains inside the bladder and prevents the catheter from slipping out of the body.
There are two different types of Foley catheters – urethral and suprapubic catheters. A urethral catheter is inserted into the bladder, while a supra-pubic Foley catheter involves placing the catheter into the bladder through a small cut in the abdomen.
Foley Catheter types are several and will depend on your individual needs. Factors that will decide your selection include gender, period of usage, material sensitivity. You also have to choose from type, size, length, material, and use.
Two-way Foley Catheter The two-way catheter has two channels and a retention balloon. One channel is utilized for draining out urine, and another channel inflates the retention balloon. An inflated retention balloon securely holds the Foley catheter in place. It is generally used for the management of urinary dysfunction.
Three-way Foley Catheter Three-way catheter includes three channels. Like a two-way catheter, one channel is used to empty urine, and another inflates the retention balloon. The third channel helps provide continuous bladder irrigation to clear blood clots or debris. A Three-way Foley catheter is used in the case of prostate tumor, bleeding from the bladder, or after urological surgery.
The common sizes of Foley catheters are in the range of 10 FR to 28 FR. Your medical professional can best suggest to you that which catheter size will work best for you.
The length of an Indwelling catheter differs in males , females, and paediatrics. Men need longer tubing, which is usually between 40 and 45 cm. For female foley catheters, the standard length is 25 cm.
These catheters are generally made from silicone rubber or latex natural/rubber. The latter is cheaper but usually avoided because the user can be prone to infections due to latex, and it can also cause hypersensitive reactions. Then there are silicone-latex catheters which are essentially latex but with a silicone coating. It lasts between one and two weeks. Catheters made exclusively of silicone are expensive but popular for Foley catheterization. They are safer and more secure in comparison and last longer, for up to 6 to 8 weeks, but they are more rigid.
Your catheter choice will also depend on your usage, whether you need it for the short term of up to two weeks or the long time for up to three months.
Short-Term Foley Catheters: Short-term Foley catheters are generally used during surgeries and the post-surgery period to provide relief from short-term urinary retention, administer medication into the bladder, or monitor urine output. These may be made of PVC or latex, or Teflon-coated latex.
Long-Term Foley Catheters: Long-term Foley catheters are used in cases where the patient is bed-ridden, has a chronic illness, and is unable to pass urine the normal way. Situations include severe urinary incontinence, bladder outlet obstruction, and chronic urine retention because of neurological disease or injury. These catheters are made of silicone, silicone-elastomer coated latex, hydrophilic polymer coated latex, silver-alloy coated catheters, and more.
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An indwelling urethal catheter also known as "foley" catheter is a closed, sterile system inserted into the urethra to allow the bladder to drain. A catheter is left in place for a period of time and is attached to a drainage bag to collect the urine. These catheters are usually inserted by a doctor and nurse.
Drainage bags for long term catheters:
It is required by people with urinary incontinence or retention that cannot be treated by other methods like surgery, medications or intermittent catheterization.
An indwelling catheter is also required by people with skin irritation or pressure ulcers (stage 3 or 4) that are caused by incontinence.
It is also used in situations when a person is homebound and a family member or a caregiver is not available to help.
Foley catheter, also known as an indwelling catheter, is a thin tube made of flexible material which is inserted through the urethra and into the bladder for draining urine. It is regarded as the most common type of indwelling urinary catheter.
Foley catheter is used for individuals who have incontinence issue and find it difficult to pass urine the normal way. A Foley catheter may also be required for use on a patient soon after surgery.
Catheter insertion may cause slight irritation within the urethra and therefore, care must be taken during insertion to avoid injuries. It is also important for users to wear loose cotton clothes to keep the Foley catheter free from accidental pulls. Hygiene should be maintained in the genital area to prevent infections, etc.
A Foley catheter user should seek medical attention if there are symptoms of infection which includes fever, abdominal pain, swelling in the genital and urethral area or burning sensation. Immediate doctor’s advice should also be sought if the urine in the urinary drainage bag is pink or red or there is bleeding from the urethra.