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Catheter balloon-related urethral trauma in children


Dr Soundappan SV Soundappan, Department of Academic Surgery, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia. Fax: +61-2-9845 3346; email:


Aim:  To review urethral injuries arising from incorrect balloon inflation in children undergoing urinary catheterisation.

Method:  Retrospective review from 1995–2006. Children who sustained catheter-related injury at The Children's Hospital at Westmead were identified through medical records database and reviewed.

Results:  Six patients were identified over the 11-year period. All six were boys. Age ranged from <1 month to 16 years. All but one occurred in hospital. All injuries were confirmed by urethrogram. Bulbar and prostatic urethra was involved in an equal number of children studied. Three patients required suprapubic catheters. Follow-up imaging revealed healing without stricture in all patients.

Conclusion:  Balloon-related urethral trauma can be avoided by educating health-care professionals on proper placement and confirmation of position of catheter. Though there were no long-term complications noted, a temporary suprapubic diversion may be needed.