What are the adverse effects of Foley catheters for the treatment of neurogenic bladder?

Updated: Dec 06, 2018
  • Author: Bradley C Gill, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

In spite of its apparent advantages, the use of a Foley catheter for a prolonged period of time (eg, months to years) is strongly discouraged. Long-term use of urethral catheters poses significant health hazards. Indwelling urethral catheters are a significant cause of urinary tract infections that involve the urethra, bladder, and kidneys. Within 2-4 weeks after catheter insertion, bacteria will be present in the bladder of most women. Asymptomatic bacterial colonization is common and does not pose a health hazard. However, untreated symptomatic urinary tract infections may lead to urosepsis and death. The death rate of nursing home residents with urethral catheters has been found to be three times higher than that of residents without catheters; this may be more a reflection of the severity of comorbid conditions that lead to the clinical decision to use chronic bladder drainage than causation from the use of chronic bladder drainage. [4]


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