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MEDiscuss • Genitourinary diseases • Saline or sterile water for inflating Foley's catheter?

  1. #1
    Member since
    Jul 2007

    Saline or sterile water for inflating Foley's catheter?

    After inserting a Foley's catheter, should we inflate the bulb with sterile water or saline? In addition, how should the area be sterilized before the procedure?

  2. #2
    Physician - Teacher
    Member since
    Jul 2007
    Blog Entries
    Sterile water or Saline?
    It really should not matter much. Some regard Saline as "not ideal" because that may cause problems while deflating the bulb. However, I will refer you to this PubMed article that has demonstrated that either of them is OK.

    I quote the abstract here:
    Quote from: PubMed, Hui J, Ng CF, Chan LW, Chan PS.
    BACKGROUND: Despite the lack of evidence, using normal saline for inflating the balloon of a Foley urethral catheter is frequently regarded as a cause for deflation failure. We have investigated the issue by comparing the rate of deflation failure of Foley catheter balloon, using either sterile water or normal saline as the filling solution.
    METHODS: Four thousand latex Foley urethral catheters (14 Fr) were randomly assigned to one of two groups: sterile water or normal saline. Each of the catheter balloons would then be inflated with 10 mL of the corresponding fluid. They were subsequently put in water baths at 37 degrees C for 4 weeks. At the end of 4 weeks, all the balloons were deflated by people who were blind to the assignment of fluid inflated. Failure of deflation was defined as the balloon not being able to be deflated completely. The number of deflation failures was recorded and the amount of fluid aspirated from each balloon was also noted.
    RESULTS: Of the 4000 catheters, 17 (0.43%) were found to be defective and could not be used for the study. The remaining 3983 catheters were randomly allocated into the sterile water (2011) and normal saline (1972) groups. The failure rate of deflation for the sterile water group and normal saline group were 185 (9.2%) and 157 (8.0%), respectively, which was not statistically significant (P = 0.162).
    CONCLUSION: There was no difference in the rate of deflation failure of latex Foley balloons by using either sterile water or normal saline as the filling solution.

    On a lighter note, DO NOT use air to inflate the bulb!

    Sterilization before catheterization: If you use either povidone iodine or methylated spirit, the patient will have severe irritation and they MUST be avoided. Warm soap-water solution is probably the best. In some centers, dilute iodine solution is also used.

  3. #3
    Member since
    Sep 2007
    it has been long time this site become inactive ever since while i was a final year student. happy that it become active again.
    ...regarding that, i would like to say....although clinical study as shown above said there is no difference in using ns or sterile water for inflate the balloon.

    BUT, in clinical practice, (i personal has seen so much), using saline water for inflate balloon will cause the saline to crystallined after 2 week while we attempt to change the CBD in pt on long term CBD. i personally has encounter this so many times and what i have to do at that moment is using ultrasound guided suprapubic puncture the balloon.

    b'coz of that, i hate ppl who inflated balloon with saline water. as they bring lot iof trouble to others.

    so, i personally advice for all HO better inflated the balloon with sterile water. if not, u might get punished from your superior if you was found doing that.

    reason why the study cannot be 100 % trustable:
    1)cbd while inserted to body might not same as putting in water bath.
    2) the catheter used in the study might not same as the catheter used in malaysia



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