Foley Catheter Balloon Tamponade


Use of a Foley catheter (FC, aka urinary catheter) to achieve hemorrhage control in penetrating trauma to the neck


  • An 18- or 20-G FC is introduced into the bleeding neck wound attempting to follow the wound tract
  • The balloon is inflated with 5 ml of water or until resistance was felt
  • The FC is either clamped or knotted on itself to prevent bleeding through the lumen
  • The neck wound is sutured in two layers around the catheter


  • If continued bleeding around the catheter then proceed to surgery
  • If bleeding controlled, then CTA neck performed
    — if negative then removal of Foley catheter in OT at 48-72h post-insertion
    — if positive (significant injury) then proceed to OT for surgical repair (unless embolisation is an option)

References and Links

Journal Articles

  • Gilroy D, Lakhoo M, Charalambides D, Demetriades D. Control of life-threatening haemorrhage from the neck: a new indication for balloon tamponade. Injury. 1992;23(8):557-9. PMID: 1286913.
  • Navsaria P, Thoma M, Nicol A. Foley catheter balloon tamponade for life-threatening hemorrhage in penetrating neck trauma. World J Surg. 2006 Jul;30(7):1265-8. \\ PMID: 16830215.

FOAM and web resources

CCC 700 6

Critical Care


Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also a Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.

After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.

He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE.  He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.

His one great achievement is being the father of three amazing children.

On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.

| INTENSIVE | RAGE | Resuscitology | SMACC

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.