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Foley Catheter (cont.)

Foley Catheter Risks

  • The balloon can break while the catheter is being inserted. In this case, the doctor will remove all the balloon fragments.
  • The balloon does not inflate after it is in place. Usually the doctor will check the balloon inflation before inserting the catheter into the urethra. If the balloon still does not inflate after its placement into the bladder, the doctor will then insert another Foley catheter.
  • Urine stops flowing into the bag. The doctor will check for correct positioning of the catheter and bag or for obstruction of urine flow within the catheter tube.
  • Urine flow is blocked. The doctor will have to change the bag or the Foley catheter or both.
  • The urethra begins to bleed. The doctor will have to monitor the bleeding.
  • The Foley catheter may introduce an infection into the bladder. The risk of infection in the urine increases with the number of days the catheter is in place.
  • If the balloon is opened before the Foley catheter is completely inserted into the bladder, bleeding, damage and even rupture of the urethra can occur. In some individuals, long-term permanent scarring and strictures of the urethra could occur.
  • Bladder spasms can occur when a catheter is placed. This is a sudden intense urge to urinate and can be painful. Often, urine will leak around the outside of the catheter when a spasm occurs. Medication can be prescribed for bladder spasms.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/3/2014
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