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What type of catheter should I get? What are some of the features that catheters come with? What size catheter should I get? Which drainage or leg bag should I choose? What is the Medicare/Medicaid/insurance reimbursement rate?

Comparing Urinary Supplies - Sizing Guide


What type of catheter should I get?

Catheters are used to treat Urinary Incontinence. You should always consult with your physician before using a catheter. Catheters can generally be divided into two different categories: long-term and short-term. Your physician will know what type of catheter will best suit you. Types include Intermittent Catheters remove fluid from the bladder, Foley Catheters employ a retention device (balloon) to keep the catheter in place, Touchless Catheters reduce the risk of infection and External Catheters are used for men.

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What are some of the features that catheters come with?

Besides type, there are a few features that distinguish catheters. These include:
  • Silicone coating: The silicone coating makes the catheter more secure and causes less allergies in the patient. The downside to silicone coating is that it makes the catheter less stretchable.
  • Catheter eyes: Catheter eyes are the holes in which the urine drains through. The most commmon reason for a catheter to be replaced is the blockage of these holes. Some catheters have eyes on two different sides of the catheter(opposing eyes), while others have two holes on the same side (staggered eyes). Staggered eye catheters allow for higher drainage, you should consider them if you have high urine flow.
  • Coude tip: These catheters have a rounded tip that helps it move through the urethra better.
  • Latex-free: An absolute necessity for those with latex allegeries.
  • Touchless: These catheters come pre-lubricated with a protective sheath that allow for a more sanitary insertion process.
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What size catheter should I get?

Internal catheters usually have their outside diameters measured in French sizes. The French catheter scale or "French units" (Fr) is commonly used to measure the outside diameter of needles as well as catheters. 1 "French" or "Fr" is equivalent to 0.33 mm = .013" = 1/77" of diameter. The size in French units is roughly equal to the circumference of the catheter in millimeters. A 14 to 16 French is used on most adults. Larger catheters of 22 French are recommended for patients with hematuria or clots. Pediatric French sizes range from 3 to 14. A catheter that is too big can lead to urethral irritation and difficult placement. A catheter that is too small can lead to kinking and urinary leakage. Below are some catheter French size conversion charts:

French Catheter Scale Chart

French Gauge
Diameter (mm) 
Diameter (inch)
3
1
0.039
4
1.35
0.053
5
1.67
0.066
6
2
0.079
7
2.3
0.092
8
2.7
0.105
9
3
0.118
10
3.3
0.131
11
3.7
0.144
12
4
0.158
13
4.3
0.17
14
4.7
0.184
15
5
0.197
16
5.3
0.21
17
5.7
0.223
18
6
0.236
19
6.3
0.249
20
6.7
0.263
22
7.3
0.288
24
8
0.315
26
8.7
0.341
28
9.3
0.367
30
10
0.393
32
10.7
0.419
34
11.3
0.445

 

French Catheter Diameter Comparison Chart

Catheter Size Chart - French Diameter

 

 

The length of internal catheters is usually referenced in inches when sold in the United States. Common lenghts of 6 to 8 inches are used for women while lenghts of 14 or more inches are often used for men.

External catheters used for men are usually constructed of latex or silicone material. External catheters or Condom Catheters over the penis to capture escaping urine and redirect the urine to a collection bottle or bag. An External Catheter Sizing Guide from Hollister is available to help with measurements. Print the sizing guide (preferably on sturdy paper) and measure your penis until you find the appropriate size. Or, use a tape measure to measure the circumference of the penis. When using a tape measure, be sure not to wrap it tightly around the penis.

Note: The sizing guide provided is not definitive and is only meant to give rough estimates. If you are unsure about the appropriate catheter size, consult your physician. Do not try to take the largest catheter possible; it is more important that the catheter fits comfortably.

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Which drainage or leg bag should I choose?

Drainage bags collect and store urine from a catheter. Drainage bags are usually attached to a patients bed. Many Drainage Bags provide measurement indicators to monitor the volume of urine. A more ambulatory drainage collection device is the Leg Bag. Smaller than drainage bags, leg bags strap to the leg of the patient and fits deiscreetly under pants or skirts. Leg bags are easily drained by a valve device into a toilet. Drainage bags and lefs bags should be placed lower than the catheter to allow gravity to draw the urine away from the body and to prevent urine from draining back into the bladder. Make sure the bag is just the right size for your needs and that it works with your catheter. New leg bags and drainage bags employ anti-reflux values that are helpful to prevent urine for going backwards in the tube.

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What is the Medicare/Medicaid/insurance reimbursement rate?

The reimbursement rate varies by plan. Talk with your insurance representative to find out the reimbursement rates for your plan. Back to top Sources Wikipedia - Catheters For Urinary Incontinence Mayo Clinic - Incontinence National Institutes of Health - Urinary Incontinence Helpful articles The Urology Channel eMedicine - Urology Articles Methods for Removing a Nondeflating Foley Catheter American Urological Association

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