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Thread: Foley catheter won't drain

  1. #1
    Senior Member wheeliegirl's Avatar
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    Foley catheter won't drain

    Me again. Bed bound due to ischial stage IV wound vac. You guys have been so helpful to me so far with my transition from the SNF back home and dealing with living from my bed, having care givers, and all that comes with this. Now an issue that I can't seem to resolve. The foley catheter does not drain. I'm in a regular bed, it's about 2 and a half feet off the ground, maybe 3. It's just the box spring on the floor and a high profile mattress on top of that. It's the perfect height for me to transfer to/from my wheelchair.

    As I am laying flat on the bed, no matter what I've tried, the foley doesn't drain. It's not kinked or twisted, that I can see. The only way it will drain is if I flush and "prime" it, and then I have to hold the hose up high, then lower it, and alternate like that until my bladder is emptied. The bag is either laying on the floor or hung over one of those handles that is sewn onto the mattress, but it IS lower than my body/bladder as I'm laying on the bed.

    Any ideas or solutions that you can think of? I tired of flushing it every 4-6 hours, and sometimes I get wet when it backs up and comes out my urethra, and this isn't good for the dressings or my skin, as we all well know.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    If you can't get it to drain you need to get to the hospital.
    T6 Incomplete due to a Spinal cord infarction July 2009

  3. #3
    Senior Member wheeliegirl's Avatar
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    It drains, but not consistently. I doubt that I have a medical condition. I need to manually make it drain. For instance, just now I looked at it, and the tube is filled with urine, but it's the part that is lying on the bed. I had to raise the tube to get it to go down to the bag. There is no blockage in my urethra. It's mechanical....gravity related I think.

  4. #4
    I assume you are making sure their are no "dependent loops" in the tubing. There should be a consistent downhill direction of the tubing toward the bag, and never any loop of the tubing allowed to hang below the top of the bag.

    Changing the catheter would be the first thing I would recommend. You may have a blockage of the eye of the catheter inside the bladder, which would be consistent in being able to irrigate into the bladder, but not allow it to drain. You could also have a bladder stone or "sand" (tiny stones) that are positional in blocking the catheter eye.

    (KLD)

  5. #5
    Senior Member wheeliegirl's Avatar
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    It must be the tubing. The bed is too close to the floor, so there are loops. There is no way to position the bag without loops unless I put the bag far away from the bed and it lays on the floor. Or, use that clip thing to clip it to my sheets, making sure there is no loop that comes between the bed and the bag, and then lay the remainder of the tubing on the bed next to me. I'll have to remember to unclip it though, when I turn to the opposite (right) side or the tubing will pull on my urethra. Would this be okay? Are there foley bag kits with shorter tubing.
    Last edited by wheeliegirl; 06-06-2015 at 01:15 PM.

  6. #6
    You can have loops on the bed, but not hanging below the bag.

    This is an example of a dependent loop:

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    This is a better way to position the tubing:
    Name:  CatheterSystem.jpg
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    (KLD)

  7. #7
    Senior Member wheeliegirl's Avatar
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    This is so very helpful! Thank you KLD. Hopefully trying the loop on the bed will resolve the issue.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Stormycoon's Avatar
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    Try laying on sides with pillows for support. I have that issue when I'm flat.
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  9. #9
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    I was having that issue too, with the tube not draining (and me then peeing through my urethra - yippee) unless I sat up in bed and alternately raised and lowered the tubing to manually drain my bladder. It wasn't blocked per se, but something seemed to be interfering with my normal flow. I had been having major clogging issues, so even if it wasn't 100% blocked, perhaps it was partially blocked with mucus. It has stayed beautifully and freely flowing for the last few days since my most recent change, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that things continue to move smoothly.

    Also, even though it's against recommendations, my SP tube does not drain well at night unless i have the bag lying on the floor. When I was hospitalized the last time, I kept peeing through my urethra when my bladder spasmed due to inefficient draining when the night bag was hung on the side of my bed. However, when we put it directly onto the floor, I had zero draining issues.

    I appreciated those pictures of the loops in the tubes - perhaps that would be a better way to solve my problem.

  10. #10
    Senior Member wheeliegirl's Avatar
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    retto76 what change did you recently make? You didn't say?

    I'm still having issues. I tried mimicking the photos, by laying the tubing on the bed, and making a small loop, but still the tubing doesn't drain completely. Some urine will come out, but it never makes it to the "down" slope of the tubing that goes to the bag. I still have to sit up every 5-6 hours and drain my bladder the same way as retto76 describes, but usually must first "prime" the catheter by flushing with a little saline or just sucking some out to get it started.

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