Podcast # 344: Foley troubleshooting - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast # 344: Foley troubleshooting

Author: Aaron Lessen, MD.

Educational Pearls:

  • When foley is stuck, balloon may not have deflated.
  • Make sure balloon is not in the urethra, which can block drainage.
  • Cut off the port as it may be obstructed.
  • If still not draining, pass guide wire through port to unclog catheter.
  • Other techniques have been described using mineral oil to dissolve, rupturing the balloon through over-inflation, and transcutaneous guided drainage.
  • Crystallization can be a cause of catheter obstruction – sterile water may be a better solution to inflate the ballon than saline when it is first placed.



Khan SA, Landes F, Paola AS, Ferrarotto L. Emergency management of the nondeflating Foley catheter balloon. Am J Emerg Med. 1991 May;9(3):260-3. PubMed PMID: 2018599.

Hollingsworth M, Quiroz F, Guralnick ML. The management of retained Foley catheters. Can J Urol. 2004 Feb;11(1):2163-6. PubMed PMID: 15003159.

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