checking foley catheter balloon


In our PN program, we have always taught that a Foley balloon must be tested prior to insertion. Have just found out that Bard (makes most of catheters) does not recommend this, says they test each catheter at the factory. What do other schools teach their students about this?

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Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,341 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.

I don't know about other schools, but my hospital policy, which was changed because of Bard's recommendations, specifically states that the balloon is not to be tested. I would check the policy & procedure at any hospital you are doing clinicals.


105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience.

Excellent question. We no longer have our students check the balloon prior to insertion of the Foley catheter. This is a large baccalaureate nursing program in North Carolina.

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

Why isn't it necessary? Their quality standards are totally trustable?

Specializes in Geriatric/Sub Acute, Home Care. Has 17 years experience.

This is a Fail Safe kind of situation.....if the company already tests them out and then you do again they may be afraid you may find a leaky balloon, OR....testing it again could be an additional stress on the balloon that is unnecessary before insertion into the bladder thus promoting a leak that way....I think its a good idea to test it first....saves you time later on only to find out you have a defective device first and it prevents further stress on the patient about reinsertion. But a perfectly good balloon may start to leak after insertion so its a win lose situation.


691 Posts

At school we are taught it isn't necessary because the chances of the balloon popping/leaking is so low. However, some of the clinical teachers swear by it and insisted we did it, regardless of what we were taught in block lab.


1 Post

In our program, we do not test the balloon because of Bard recommendations and from information we found that suggested the testing of the balloon causes a slight increase in the cath size because it doesn't deflate all of the way after testing and the chances of a broken balloon are very, very slim. :)

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JBudd, MSN

1 Article; 3,836 Posts

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 42 years experience.

I had never checked balloons until I moved to the ER, where everyone did it. So, the first cath I was doing in the ED, checked the balloon, and inserted it. Good thing I did, because the patient had problems. If we hadn't checked the balloon first we'd not have known if it was the patient or the equipment.

I always check these days.