Indwelling catheters, also known as Foley catheters, are commonly used by patients suffering from incontinence to drain urine directly from the bladder. This is done by insertion of a tube into the urethra and keeping it there for long durations. So, how does the catheter not slip out of the urethra? This is done by inflating a small balloon with sterile water once the catheter tube enters the bladder. The balloon keeps the tube from slipping out while it continues to collect urine into the drainage bag attached below. The procedure for inserting this catheter is an involved one and should be done only by experienced medical professionals the first few times. However, once comfortable with the procedure, the patient can attempt to do it himself under supervision. Let’s look at the process to remove the Foley catheter.
How to remove the Foley Catheter?
Removing the Foley catheter requires you to understand how the catheter itself works. It is important you do not make careless mistakes because these small mistakes can cause serious problems. First, you need to maintain good hygiene before handling the catheter equipment. Washing your hands with soap and warm water is very important. This prevents infection that is commonly seen with Foley catheters. Remember to call your doctor if you have doubts or issues at any point during the process.
Once you’re sanitized, follow the below steps,
1. Put on proper sanitized gloves.
2. Unwrap the straps of the drainage bag.
3. Clean the equipment including the tubing from the penis to the urethra with an alcohol wipe. Make sure no surfaces are left untouched.
4. Begin to drain. The drainage can be done either by using a syringe or by cutting the balloon port at the inflation valve. You need to ask your doctor which procedure needs to be followed for your particular Foley catheter.
5. If you are supposed to use the syringe drainage method then, follow the procedure below.
Insert a 30cc catheter tip syringe into the tube used to inflate the balloon and pull backwards until the balloon is emptied. Once emptied, you will now be able to pull the Foley catheter out slowly.
What should you do if the Balloon in the catheter doesn’t drain?
One issue that can occur is the balloon refusing to drain easily. In this case, there are some measures you can take:
Take a lubricated, fine-gauge wire and slowly pass it along the balloon tube’s channel. This might loosen up any obstructions and the fluid should then be able to flow freely.
If it still does not drain, it is better to call for medical help before proceeding. However, the next step is usually to insert a 22-guage central venous catheter along the guide wire. Finally, if even this step is of no avail, the balloon can be dissolved with mineral oil. 10 ml of mineral oil can be injected in. The balloon should now dissolve and the fluid will automatically drain out.
Collect this fluid, the emptied urine drainage bag, and the remaining equipment and place it in a waterproof bag. You then need to dispose of them properly. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands with soap afterwards.