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Today, the Foley catheter is the industry standard in indwelling urinary catheters. It consists of a flexible tube that is passed through the urethra and into the bladder, allowing urine to drain into a collection bag.

Urinary catheters have been in existence for hundreds of years and their advancement has paralleled the development of newer, more versatile materials. Yet even in the current age of rapidly advancing medical technology, the last significant advancement in catheter design, the introduction of the Foley type catheter, occurred nearly 80 years ago.

In 1937, Dr. Frederic Foley introduced the first flexible, self-retaining balloon catheter. The design was a breakthrough; not only was it manufactured with new, flexible materials, but it was fashioned with an inflatable balloon that secured the catheter within the bladder. It was built with two lumens (a channel within the catheter tube). The first allowed for the balloon to be inflated with sterile water while the second allowed for the drainage of urine from the bladder.

Catheter Complications

Since the Foley catheter’s introduction into modern medicine, this standard catheter configuration has remained virtually unchanged. Device manufacturers have experimented with numerous modifications in an effort to curb the Foley’s notoriously high trauma and associated infection rates, improvements in materials have been made—latex rubber, silicone, plastic, and Teflon. Drainage eye size and shape have been adjusted in an effort to enhance urine flow and reduce clogging. The industry has moved toward the use of antiseptic coatings on catheters to combat the introduction of bacteria into the bladder. These changes have been relatively ineffective.

Despite these changes, the Foley catheter design has been mostly unchanged and according to studies has led to adverse events, including urinary tract infections (UTI) in catheterized patients. Complications can also include bladder spasms, hematuria, cystitis, and an increased risk of bladder cancer. With recent changes in Medicare’s reimbursement policy for preventable conditions leaving care providers with the cost of managing catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), the industry is poised to welcome a new urinary drainage system to try and combat these events that have been consistent with the Foley’s design.

That new drainage system is The Duette™ Dual Balloon Catheter. To find out more, click here to read the Duette page.