Foley Catheters Essay

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Over the past several years, Foley catheters have become the most frequently used implantable medical device (Stickler, 2014). A Foley catheter is simply an indwelling urinary catheter. These catheters are necessary for a broad variety of conditions including, patients with acute urinary retention or bladder outlet obstruction, patients undergoing surgical repair of the genitourinary tract, critically ill patients requiring frequent and urgent measurements of urinary output, incontinent patients whom require healing of open sacral or perineal wounds, patients needing comfort for end of life care, or patients with unstable structural injuries that may be compromised (i.e., unstable thoracic or lumbar spine, multiple traumatic injuries such as …show more content…
This measure ensured that each nurse could immediately know the catheters insertion date and when it should be replaced. This is critically important information for the reasons mentioned previously. The Foley is a primary source of nosocomial infections and can very seriously impact the care of patients. I became curious to know how the policy of changing the catheter monthly came to be. In other words, what was the evidence to suggest that one month may be superior to three weeks or perhaps every five …show more content…
The Proteus mirabilis and other bacteria easily travel along the outer and/or inner surface of the catheter, usually within 2-10 days of insertion (Davey, 2015). Shortly after this period, the bacteria create a biofilm, which is a living layer of cells, on the catheter 's outer surface. This biofilm in turn produces a 'sticky ' substance known as glycocalyx (a glycoprotein-polysaccharide covering that surrounds the cell membranes of some bacteria), which sticks to the surface of the catheter, often creating a protective shield between the bacteria and the antibiotic therapy (Davey, 2015). Additionally, these bacteria also produce ammonia, which raises the urine pH, causing “crystals of calcium and magnesium phosphates to precipitate in the urine and in the catheter biofilm” (Stickler, 2014). As this process progresses, the crystalline biofilm can eventually block the flow of urine through the catheter. This causes the urine to either leak along the outside of the catheter or to be retained, causing painful distension of the bladder and reflux of urine into the kidneys (Stickler, 2014). If this is ignored, the crystals form bladder stones, which are extremely difficult to eliminate. If blocked catheters are not promptly identified and changed, serious complications can occur,

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