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Urology/Build up on foley


I am an RN taking care of a morbidly obese bed bound patient. He has had a foley in now for a couple years. He will at times go through periods where he needs it changed every 10-12 days. The foley  will still be draining, sometimes I notice sediment , very rarely does he have a uti. When I remove the old foley almost every time there is some type of build up near the tip of the foley. It varies in color from blue to brown. It never occluds the opening, Do you think the buid up is related to his diet or medications? Is there something that I could suggest to him to help? He is currently in the phase of needing it changed every couple of weeks.



A morbidly obese bed bound patient with a permanent Foley probably should at least consider having a suprapubic tube.  This would tend to be easier to change and would prevent penile erosions.

The build up in foley catheters is usually calcium phosphate.  This material can be dissolved using a mild acid solution such as 1/4% acetic acid.  You can also try switching to 100% silicone which tends to resist such encrustations.  Spasms can be treated with oral OAB type medications.

Usually, a physician or urologist has been in charge of the patient's care to some degree and you should be getting your directions from them.


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Stephen W. Leslie, MD


Questions concerning erectile dysfunction, kidney stones and prostate disorders including prostate cancer. I have a special interest in kidney stone disease prevention.


Full time practicing urologist with 30 years experience. Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of Urology at Creighton University Medical Center. Editor in Chief of eMedicine Urology internet textbook. Author of only NIH approved book written for patients by a urologist on the subject of kidney stones "The Kidney Stones Handbook". Inventor of the "Parachute" and "Escape" kidney stone baskets and the "Calculus" stone prevention analysis computer program.

American Urological Association, Ohio State Medical Association, Sexual Medicine Society

Men's Health, Journal of Urology, Urology, Healthwatch Magazine, Emergency Medicine Monthly, eMedicine, "The Kidney Stones Handbook", and numerous articles in various newspapers. He is also the editor of the Urology Board Review by McGraw-Hill used by urologists to study for their Board Certification Examinations.

Graduate of New York Medical College with residencies completed at Metropolitan Hospital New York, Albany Medical Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Awards and Honors
Thirlby Award of the American Urological Association. Rated as one the country's Best Urologists by the Independent Consumer's Research Institute

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