Types of bladder catheterization

  • Short-term – for emptying the contents of the bladder; the catheter is removed after the procedure,
  • Long-term – the urinary catheter is inserted over a long period of time; the catheter is fixed in the bladder with a balloon filled with sterile saline.


Commonly used short-term urinary catheters:

  • Nelaton catheter – a straight catheter with a round tip; used in women, men and children,
  • Tiemann catheter – a straight catheter with a curved tip; used in men

Commonly used long-term urinary catheters:

  • Foley catheter – made of flexible latex or silicone with a balloon installed; the mouth of the catheter is adapted for connecting to a collection system.

All types of urinary catheters are made in different sizes, both in the circumference and diameter. Catheter diameter sizes are measured in Charriere (CH) also know as French gauge (Fr). No.1 = 1 CH = 1 Fr = 1 mm circumference and 0.3 mm diameter (No. 18 = 18 CH = 18 Fr = 18 mm circumference and 5.4mm diameter).


Each catheter package is marked with a number. The package for long-term catheters also indicates the recommended volume of fluid for filling the fixation balloon. Catheters are sterile packed and usually made of silicone (allowing for a long-term catheterization - 21 days), latex or PTFE-coated. Catheterization should be administered strictly aseptically.

Preparation of aids

  • Sterile urinary catheter (short-term or long-term)
  • Sterile gloves
  • Sterile squares and swabs
  • Mucous membrane disinfectant
  • Anesthetic gel
  • Kidney bowl
  • Wadding cut into squares
  • For long-term catheter – a syringe with a sterile solution to fill the fixation balloon, tweezers (not always) and a drainage kit with collection bag

Complications during catheterization

  • Perforation of the lower urinary tract – rupture of the lower urinary tract in forced insertion of a urinary catheter
  • Urinary tract infection – introduction of infection into the lower urinary tract
  • Paraphimosis - occurs when the foreskin is pulled back behind the penis glans and stays there; it is necessary to pull the foreskin back over the glans penis after short-term or long-term catheterization
  • Urethral sphincter injury – a catheter is inserted very gently and considerately; the patient is asked to cooperate; the patient lies calmly, takes slow and deep breaths and concentrates fully on breathing which induces a calm state of mind, releasing tension in the sphincter

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