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Catheter disassembled
Single use urinary catheter, 40 cmIn medicine, a catheter /'k??t?r/ is a thin tub
e extruded from medical grade materials serving a broad range of functions. Cath
eters are medical devices that can be inserted in the body to treat diseases or
perform a surgical procedure. By modifying the material or adjusting the way cat
heters are manufactured, it is possible to tailor catheters for cardiovascular,
urological, gastrointestinal, neurovascular, and ophthalmic applications.
Catheters can be inserted into a body cavity, duct, or vessel. Functionally, the
y allow drainage, administration of fluids or gases, access by surgical instrume
nts, and also perform a wide variety of other tasks depending on the type of cat
heter.[1] The process of inserting a catheter is catheterization. In most uses,
catheter is a thin, flexible tube ("soft" catheter) though catheters are availab
le in varying levels of stiffness depending on the application. A catheter left
inside the body, either temporarily or permanently, may be referred to as an ind
welling catheter. A permanently inserted catheter may be referred to as a permca
th (originally a trademark)
The ancient Syrians created catheters from reeds. "Katheter
?a?et??" originally
referred to any instrument that was inserted, such as a plug. It comes from the
Greek verb "kathiemai ?a??ea?" meaning "let down", because the catheter was 'let
down' into the body.
Contents [hide]
1 Uses
2 Inventors
3 Materials
4 Interventional procedures
5 See also
6 References
7 External links
Uses[edit]Placement of a catheter into a particular part of the body may allow:
("uretic catheter":) draining urine from the urinary bladder as in urinary cathe
terization, e.g., the intermittent catheters or Foley catheter or even when the
urethra is damaged as in suprapubic catheterisation.
drainage of urine from the kidney by percutaneous (through the skin) nephrostomy
drainage of fluid collections, e.g. an abdominal abscess
administration of intravenous fluids, medication or parenteral nutrition with a
peripheral venous catheter
angioplasty, angiography, balloon septostomy, balloon sinuplasty, cardiac electr
ophysiology testing, catheter ablation. Often the Seldinger technique is used.
direct measurement of blood pressure in an artery or vein
direct measurement of intracranial pressure
administration of anaesthetic medication into the epidural space, the subarachno
id space, or around a major nerve bundle such as the brachial plexus
administration of oxygen, volatile anesthetic agents, and other breathing gases
into the lungs using a tracheal tube
subcutaneous administration of insulin or other medications, with the use of an
infusion set and insulin pump

A central venous catheter is a conduit for giving drugs or fluids into a large-b
ore catheter positioned either in a vein near the heart or just inside the atriu
A Swan-Ganz catheter is a special type of catheter placed into the pulmonary art
ery for measuring pressures in the heart.
An embryo transfer catheter is designed to insert fertilized embryos from in vit
ro fertilization into the uterus. They may vary in length from approximately 150
mm to 190 mm.
An umbilical line is a catheter used in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) pro
viding quick access to the central circulation of premature infants.
A Tuohy-Borst adapter is a medical device used for attaching catheters to variou
s other devices.
A Quinton catheter is a double or triple lumen, external catheter used for hemod
An intrauterine catheter, such as a device known as a 'tom cat', may be used to
insert specially 'washed' sperm directly into the uterus in artificial inseminat
ion. A physician is required to administer this procedure.
Inventors[edit]The earliest American invention of the flexible catheter was duri
ng the 18th century.[2] Extending his inventiveness to his family's medical prob
lems, Benjamin Franklin invented the flexible catheter in 1752 when his brother
John suffered from bladder stones. Franklin's catheter was made of metal with se
gments hinged together with a wire enclosed to provide rigidity during insertion
According to a footnote in his letter in Volume 4 of the Papers of Benjamin Fran
klin (1959), Benjamin Franklin credits Francesco Roncelli-Pardino from 1720 as t
he inventor of a flexible catheter. In fact, Benjamin Franklin claims the flexib
le catheter may have been designed even earlier[5]
An early modern application of the catheter was employed by Claude Bernard for t
he purpose of cardiac catheterization in 1844. The procedure involved entering a
horse s ventricles via the jugular vein and carotid artery. This appears to be an
earlier and modern application of the catheter because this catheter approach t
echnique is still performed by neurosurgeons, cardiologists, and cardiothoracic
David S. Sheridan was the inventor of the modern disposable catheter in the 1940
s. In his lifetime he started and sold four catheter companies and was dubbed th
e "Catheter King" by Forbes Magazine in 1988. He is also credited with the inven
tion of the modern "disposable" plastic endotracheal tube now used routinely in
surgery. Prior to his invention, red rubber tubes were used, sterilized, and the
n re-used, which had a high risk of infection and thus often led to the spread o
f disease. As a result Mr Sheridan is credited with saving thousands of lives.
In the early 1900s, a Dubliner named Walsh and a famous Scottish urinologist cal
led Norman Gibbon teamed together to create the standard catheter used in hospit
als today. Named after the two creators, it was called the Gibbon-Walsh catheter
. The Gibbon and the Walsh catheters have been described and their advantages ov
er other catheters shown. The Walsh catheter is particularly useful after prosta
tectomy for it drains the bladder without infection or clot retention. The Gibbo
n catheter has largely obviated the necessity of performing emergency prostatect
omy. It is also very useful in cases of urethral fistula. A simple procedure suc
h as dilatation of the urethra and passage of a Gibbon catheter often causes the
fistula to close. This catheter is also of use in the treatment of urethral str
icture and, as a temporary measure, in the treatment of retention of urine cause
d by carcinoma of the prostate.
Materials[edit]A range of polymers are used for the construction of catheters, i
ncluding silicone rubber, nitinol, nylon, polyurethane, polyethylene terephthala
te (PETE) latex, and thermoplastic elastomers. Silicone is one of the most commo

n choices because it is inert and unreactive to body fluids and a range of medic
al fluids with which it might come into contact. On the other hand, the polymer
is weak mechanically, and a number of serious fractures have occurred in cathete
rs[citation needed]. For example, silicone is used in Foley catheters where frac
tures have been reported, often requiring surgery to remove the tip left in the
There are many different types of catheters for bladder problems. A typical mode
rn intermittent catheter is made from polyurethane and comes in different length
s and sizes for men, women and children. The most advanced catheters have a thin
hydrophilic surface coating. When immersed in water this coating swells to a sm
ooth, slippery film making the catheter safer and more comfortable to insert. So
me catheters are packed in a sterile saline solution.
Interventional procedures[edit]Different catheter tips can be used to guide the
catheter into the target vessel. Refer to[7] for a picture of different catheter
tips and their respective names.
See also[edit]Cannula
Foley catheter
French catheter scale chart
Peripheral venous catheter
References[edit]1.Jump up ^ Diggery, Robert (2012). Catheters: Types, applicatio
ns and potential complications (medical devices and equipment). Nova Science. IS
BN 1621006301.
2.Jump up ^ http://www.urologichistory.museum/content/milestones/catheterization
3.Jump up ^ "Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World". Minnesota Historic
al Society.
4.Jump up ^ Hirschmann, J.V. (December 2005). "Benjamin Franklin and Medicine" (
PDF). Annals of Internal Medicine 143 (11): 830 4. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-143-11-20
5.Jump up ^ Huth, E.J. (2007). "Benjamin Franklin's place in the history of medi
cine" (PDF). Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh 37 (4): 373 8
6.Jump up ^ Baim, Donald (2005). Grossman's Cardiac Catheterization, Angiography
, and Intervention. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 978-0781755672.
7.Jump up ^ http://www.merit.com/PDFs/IMPRESS400741001-B.pdf[dead link]
External links[edit] Wikimedia Commons has media related to Catheters.
Millward, Steven F. (September 2000). "Percutaneous Nephrostomy: A Practical App
roach". Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology 11 (8): 955 964. doi:10.1
5 Ways to Help Reduce Urinary Tract Infections
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