Changing a catheter may seem easy to some and hard for others. A catheter is a tube that runs from the outside of your body to the inside of your body and rests inside the mouth of the bladder. There are several types of catheters that have different types of tips depending on the individual you are placing a catheter into.
Units of measure with a catheter
Catheters are sized using a unit of measure called French. It is all called the French scale or the French Gauge. 1 French is equivalent to 1/3 of a millimeter, so 3 French is 1 MM in diameter. The gauge goes by single numbers until it hits 20 then it goes by two’s generally. so a 22 french catheter is 7 1/3 MM diameter.
Types of catheters
The main types of catheters are:
- indwelling catheter
- External catheters
- Short term catheters
Indwelling catheters are often known as Foley catheters. Foley catheters are merely a name for indwelling catheters. This is where the catheter resides inside your body. An indwelling catheter is inserted into the bladder through the urethra. Sometimes instead of going through the urethra, it will be inserted though a tiny hole in the abdomen. This is referred to as a supra pubic catheter.A small balloon that is located at the end of the catheter is inflated after insertion to prevent it from slipping out of the body.
External catheter are often referred to as condom catheter since they cover the penis. This isn’t used for individual who have urinary retention but rather for individuals who suffer from functional or mental disabilities such as dementia. The tube runs from the condom catheter to the drainage bag.
Short term catheters
Someone night only need a catheter for a short time after a surgery until the bladder is empty. After the bladder empties, the catheter is then removed. This is referred to an in and out catheter or straight catheter. People are generally trained to apply it themselves or with the help of a caregiver. It can be done through the urethra or through a hole made in the abdomen.
Complications of catheters
Complications can arise with the use of a catheter, especially if it is used long term. The most often complication due to the use of a long term catheter is a UTI. This is mainly because with the use of a catheter that is inserted long term, there is a constant opening into that part of the body. Due to the opening of the body, there is a larger chance of bacteria ring introduced into the body.
Some other complications that can arise are:
- Allergic reaction
- Bladder stones
- Blood in the urine
- Injury to the urethra
- Along with several others
- Styles of catheters
Two way catheter or balloon catheter: Foley catheters tend to have 2 channels. One channel is for draining while the other is for inflating the balloon
Three way catheter-usually used for patients after surgery. The third channel is used for cleaning the inside of the catheter tube.
Silicone catheters– usually made out of latex. Individuals with a latex allergy usually use a silicone catheter. Silicone catheters function exactly the same except that they are made out of silicone and tend to be smoother and softer than latex. They also come in both 2 and 3 way styles.
Coated Foley catheter– Most often the coating are silicone, silver or teflon. These coatings provide a benefit of protection against infection. These catheters are usually 3 way catheters.
Each type and and style of catheter has different tips than can be used depending on the individual.
Soon, i will explain the tips of catheters along with that they are used for along with how to place a catheter is both men and women.
Stay tuned and give a care!