Why Are Catheters Lined with PTFE?

 

If you have ever been to the hospital before for a surgery, you might have been catheterized. A catheter is used for a wide variety of different medical applications. One is urinary incontinence. If a patient is unable to control his/her bladder or can’t urinate on his/her own, the doctor will order a catheterization to ensure the bladder is emptied.

 

Another common reason is immobility. If a patient is hospitalized for a long time and can’t move or is in a coma, a catheter will be needed as well. Finally, if the doctor needs to measure the output of urine, he/she will likely order a catheter.

 

As we mentioned above, catheters are used to empty a patient’s bladder. In order for them to work, catheters are inserted into the patient’s urinary system so the bladder can empty continuously from the catheter into a connecting tube that eventually goes into a waste bag. Obviously, catheters will come in different shapes and sizes and differ between men and women, but they will all this same basic function.

How Does PTFE Figure into the Design of Catheters?

 

If you’re imagining how a catheter is used, you might wonder if catheter insertion hurts. It usually doesn’t but it can cause some discomfort. In order to minimize any pain or distress of insertion, catheter manufacturers are always looking for new methods and materials that will reduce friction.  One material that is being used more often in catheter design is PTFE.

 

PTFE is a fluoropolymer that is featured in many different applications for various industries. You will often find PTFE tubing used in medical devices because it is incredibly flexible; in fact, it is the most flexible of all the fluoropolymer tubing out there. In addition to that, it has a smooth surface and low coefficient of friction.

 

Catheters are often lined with PTFE to reduce friction and to ensure other devices can pass through with ease. PTFE improves torque control and stiffness, which will allow insertion to occur much easier for the patient.

 

At Fluorotherm, we carry PTFE tubing for many different uses. Contact us today to request a quote and ask any questions you might have about PTFE or other fluoropolymer tubing.

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