A Foley catheter is a type of medical device used to drain urine from the bladder. It is a flexible tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra and held in place with an inflatable balloon at the tip. Foley catheters can be either 2-way or 3-way, each with specific features and uses:
- Foley Catheter – 2 Way:
- Structure: A 2-way Foley catheter has two channels or lumens. One lumen is used to inflate the balloon at the catheter’s tip, and the other lumen serves as the drainage channel for urine to flow from the bladder to a collection bag.
- Inflation Port: It has a single inflation port, through which sterile water or saline solution is introduced to inflate the balloon.
- Uses: 2-way Foley catheters are commonly used for short-term urinary drainage in patients who are undergoing surgery or are unable to empty their bladders due to medical conditions.
- Foley Catheter – 3 Way:
- Structure: A 3-way Foley catheter has three lumens. Like the 2-way catheter, one lumen is used for balloon inflation, and the second lumen serves as the urine drainage channel. The third lumen is an additional irrigation channel.
- Inflation Port: It also has a single inflation port, similar to the 2-way catheter.
- Uses: 3-way Foley catheters are primarily used for continuous bladder irrigation (CBI) in specific medical conditions, such as after certain surgeries, to help flush out blood clots or debris from the bladder. The third lumen allows for a continuous flow of irrigation solution (usually saline) to keep the bladder clear.
- Material: Foley catheters are typically made from medical-grade silicone or latex, which are flexible and biocompatible.
- Size: They come in various sizes, indicated by the French (Fr) scale, to accommodate different patient needs.
- Balloon Capacity: The balloon at the catheter’s tip has a specific capacity, usually ranging from 5 to 30 mL, which determines how much fluid is required to inflate it.
- Radiopaque Line: Many Foley catheters have a radiopaque line along their length to make it visible on X-ray images, helping healthcare professionals verify its positioning in the bladder.
- Urinary Drainage: Both 2-way and 3-way Foley catheters are used for urinary drainage in patients who are unable to void urine naturally, such as those undergoing surgery, patients with neurological issues, or those with urinary retention due to other medical conditions.
- Continuous Bladder Irrigation (CBI): 3-way Foley catheters are specifically used for CBI in cases where there is a need to continuously flush the bladder to prevent clot formation or maintain clear urine flow after certain surgeries, like prostate surgery.