Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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Year : 1989  |  Volume : 35  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-2  

Deflation of the 'obstinate' Foley's urinary catheter balloon : a new technique.

RR Ramakantan, VV Someshwar 

Correspondence Address:
R R Ramakantan


We have successfully deflated «DQ»obstinate«DQ» Foley«SQ»s urinary catheter balloons in 15 cases in the last six months with the help of a simple bedside procedure using an angiographic guide-wire.

How to cite this article:
Ramakantan R R, Someshwar V V. Deflation of the 'obstinate' Foley's urinary catheter balloon : a new technique. J Postgrad Med 1989;35:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Ramakantan R R, Someshwar V V. Deflation of the 'obstinate' Foley's urinary catheter balloon : a new technique. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 1989 [cited 2022 Oct 3 ];35:1-2
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Full Text


It is not an uncommon experience in our country, especially in a large teaching hospitals to run into the problem of obstinate Foley's catheter balloons which will not deflate inspite of trying conventional techniques such as cutting off of a part of the catheter, injecting ether into the side channel, gently pulling on the catheter while aspirating the side channel etc.

Under such circumstances, the usual technique is to rupture the Foley's balloon with a fine needle under fluoroscopic or ultrasonographic guidance.

Realising that the deflation of the balloon becomes "impossible" mainly because of the blockage of the side channel by particulate material, we have devised a simple bedside procedure for deflating the balloon.


Between January 1988 and July 1988, we have performed deflation of obstinate Foley's balloon, using a guide wire, in 15 patients.

In 12 patients, the procedure was carried out in the department, however, the last three cases were treated in the wards itself.

In all these patients, the Foley's catheter was cut, about 4 to 5 cm distal to the tip of the penis or labia. Through the side channel, a lubricated floppy tip of 0.025" guide wire was introduced. It was pushed all the way upto the balloon of the Foley's catheter.

The guide wire was moved back and forth, so as to clean the side channel. Following withdrawal of the guide wire, usually, saline from the balloon spurts out deflating the balloon. If this did not happen, the guide wire was reintroduced couple of times more and a 20 SWG needle connected to an empty 50 ml syringe, was introduced into the side channel and aspirated. This would help empty the balloon of saline.


When other methods of deflation had failed, we were successful in deflating the Foley's catheter balloon, in all 15 patients referred to us.

In most cases, just cleaning the side channel with a 0.025" guide wire was enough. In two patients, following cleaning with the guide wire, aspiration with 50 cc syringe was necessary. In one patient, even after evacuating the balloon of saline, it was difficult to pull out the catheter. This was because of the concretion formed around the catheter.


In our kind of hospital set up, 'obstinate' Foley's urinary catheter balloon is not an uncommon problem. The known conventional techniques of deflation, do not have 100 per cent success in deflating the balloon.

The above mentioned procedure is simple and can be carried out in the ward. We were successful in deflating the balloon in all patients referred to us.

There is no risk of introduction of infection and the procedure does not require ultrasound or fluoroscopy assistance.

Monday, October 3, 2022
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