Indian Journal of Surgery

, Volume 80, Issue 1, pp 14–18 | Cite as

Balloon-Inflated Catheters for Enteral Feeding: a Word of Caution

  • Nihar Ranjan Dash
  • Anand Narayan Singh
  • Ragini Kilambi
Original Article


Catheters with inflatable balloons such as a Foley catheter may be used for feeding gastrostomy/jejunostomy. The incorrect or improper use of these catheters can have serious consequences. We report 13 cases of feeding jejunostomy with balloon-inflated catheter’s malfunction, some referred to our centre and others operated here over a period of 8 years. The most dramatic consequence of such improper use led to rupture of the small intestine due to inadvertent over-inflation (over 100 ml) of the balloon of the catheter during a contrast study. The patient required a laparotomy with resection and anastomosis of the bowel. Three other patients had similar over-inflation of the balloon leading to severe pain and discomfort. In all three patients, timely deflation of the balloon was sufficient to relieve the symptoms. One patient had intussusception with the inflated balloon acting as a lead point. The patient underwent resection of the small bowel with end jejunostomy and distal mucous fistula. All other patients presented with abdominal pain and distension and intestinal obstruction and were managed non-operatively with deflation of balloon either by aspiration, cutting the balloon port or ultrasound-guided puncture of balloon. Healthcare personnel dealing with patients with indwelling catheters must be educated to suspect, detect and manage such problems. The best measure for such unusual complications of otherwise safe devices would be prevention by training and generation of awareness.


Catheter Feeding Jejunostomy Balloon Malfunction 


Authors’ Contributions

NRD revised the manuscript critically and provided intellectual content. ANS performed the acquisition, preparation and drafting of the manuscript. RK prepared and drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


No grant support/assistance.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Association of Surgeons of India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nihar Ranjan Dash
    • 1
  • Anand Narayan Singh
    • 1
  • Ragini Kilambi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery and Liver TransplantationAll India Institute of Medical SciencesNew DelhiIndia

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