How Can You Find the Right Catheter Sizes?


Quick Answer

Selecting the right catheter size is typically based on the quality of the patient's urine, as PatientPlus indicates that cloudier, grittier or bloodier urine requires larger catheters. As a general rule of thumb, always use the smallest catheter size that still allows for proper drainage. Gender and the age of the patient are also factors to be considered when choosing the right catheter size.

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Full Answer

Foley catheters are sized in Charrieres, and one Charriere equals a 1/3 millimeter diameter. Small sizes are more appropriate for children. PatientPlus also reminds health care professionals to specify whether the patient is male or female when prescribing a catheter, as the length needed varies based on gender.

In general, the decision to use a catheter should be made carefully. Catheters can cause urinary retention, UTIs, leakage and prolapse. They can also increase the risk for other diseases and infections, and in some cases even lead to death. As such, PatientPlus warns that catheters should only be used when no other viable options are available in order to minimize the potential health risks.

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