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A Novel Technique to "Make-Your-Own" Economically and Environmentally Friendly Device to Deflate a Foley Catheter Balloon

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Cu N Phan, M.D., Dominic Tran-Nguyen, B.S., Jeffrey W. Wong, B.A., Jin S. Lee, B.A., Jonathan M. Nguyen, B.S.

PURPOSE: Traditionally to remove a Foley Catheter, a syringe is used to deflate the balloon. An alternative technique is to cut the balloon port with a pair of scissors. However, this may result in the splattering of fluid and we do not know how much fluid has drained out. Using a syringe can be expensive ($0.65/ for a 10cc syringe) and can add waste to the environment. It also takes a long time to deflate a large Foley catheter such as a 30cc balloon; we would have to aspirate and squirt the syringe out 3 times for complete deflation. We present a simple method to make your own reusable device to deflate the Foley balloon. The device is both economically and environmentally friendly.


MATERIALS & METHODS: To make your own novel device, we need both a urine specimen cup and a urine transfer device (both are routinely provided free to the urologist by the lab). All you need to do is bend the tip of the metal needle in the transfer device downwards using pliers. Cut off half of the plastic tip on the urine transfer device. Place the remaining portion of the transfer device inside of the urine specimen cup with the plastic tip pointing upwards. To deflate the balloon, engage the plastic tip of the device into the balloon inflation port of the Foley catheter and push against the rubber valve repeatedly. Water in the balloon will come out and release from the shaft of the device without splattering.  Hold the pressure until you no longer see any more fluid leaking out. You can also compare the amount of fluid released to the graduated marks on the outside of the cup to see how much water has actually drained out. The device can be rinsed and put aside for future use.


RESULTS: We have used this device for the last two years to deflate and remove Foley catheters and have not experienced any complications. We found that using this device can be time efficient for deflating larger balloon volumes, such as 30cc balloons, because we did not have to repeatedly use a syringe to aspirate. In addition to being time efficient, we found this device to be economically and environmentally friendly as well. On average, urologists remove about 3 catheters per week. Throughout an entire year, that is 156 catheters, with each catheter removal requiring a new 10cc syringe. According to the WSAUA website, there are 2000 members. Assuming that approximately half of these members are involved in Foley catheter removals, there would be 1000 members each removing 156 catheters. Using our novel device, we can save 156,000 syringes a year and, as a group, potentially save $101,400 per year.


CONCLUSION: Our device was easy to make, time efficient, very cost effective, and environmentally friendly.