Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Urinary catheter - infants

Definition

A urinary catheter is a small, soft tube placed in the bladder. This article addresses urinary catheters in babies.

Alternative Names

Bladder catheter - infants; Foley catheter - infants; Urinary catheter - neonatal

Information

WHY IS A URINARY CATHETER USED?

Babies may need urinary catheters if they are not making much urine. Babies can have low urine output because they:

  • Have low blood pressure
  • Have an abnormally developed urinary system
  • Take medicines that will not allow them to move their muscles, such as when a child is on a ventilator

When your baby has a catheter, health care providers can measure how much urine is coming out. They can figure out how much fluid your baby needs.

HOW IS A URINARY CATHETER PLACED?

A provider puts the catheter into the urethra and up into the bladder. The urethra is an opening at the tip of the penis in boys and near the vagina in girls. The provider will:

  • Clean the tip of the penis or the area around the vagina.
  • Gently put the catheter into the bladder.
  • If a Foley catheter is used, there is a very small balloon on the end of the catheter in the bladder. This is filled with a small amount of water to keep the catheter from falling out.
  • The catheter is connected to a bag for the urine to go into.
  • This bag is emptied into a measuring cup to see how much urine your baby is making.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF A URINARY CATHETER?

There is a small risk for injury to the urethra or the bladder when the catheter is inserted. Urinary catheters that are left in place for more than a few days increase the risk for a bladder or kidney infection.

References

Lissauer T, Carroll W. Kidney and urinary tract disorders. In: Lissauer T, Carroll W, eds. Illustrated Textbook of Paediatrics. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 19.

Vogt BA, Dell KM. The kidney and urinary tract of the neonate. In: Martin RJ, Fanaroff AA, Walsh MC, eds. Fanaroff and Martin's Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 101.

Woods SL. Bladder catheterization. In: Macdonald MG, Ramasethu J, Rais-Bahrami K, eds. Atlas of Procedures in Neonatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013:chap 20.

Review Date:12/13/2017
Reviewed By:Kimberly G Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Health Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No