Medical Catheter Sizes

Medical catheters come in a wide variety of sizes, depending on their use and the site of application. Catheter sizes are usually labeled in French size (Fr) or millimeters of outer diameter (mm). French size is a unit commonly used to measure the diameter of in vitro medical devices, especially catheters and tubing needles.

1 French = 1/3 of a millimeter, i.e., a catheter with a diameter of 1 French has an outside diameter of 0.33 mm. Below are some common types of medical catheters and their size ranges:

cathetermelt angle tip

Cardiovascular catheters

  • Coronary Catheter: 3Fr – 8Fr
  • Heart Catheter: 4Fr – 8Fr

Peripheral Vascular Catheters

  • Typical range: 2Fr – 7Fr

Neurovascular Catheter

  • Internal carotid artery catheter: 5Fr – 9Fr
  • Cerebrovascular catheters: 2Fr – 5Fr

Urologic Catheters

  • Urethral catheter: 8Fr – 26Fr

Biliary catheter

  • Catheter for ERCP: 5Fr – 10Fr

Gastrointestinal Tract Catheters

  • Gastrointestinal Decompression Tube: 6Fr – 18Fr
  • Gastric tube (feeding tube): 8Fr – 28Fr

Respiratory Catheter

  • Tracheal Intubation: 2.5Fr – 10Fr (infants and children)
  • Adult tracheal intubation: 6Fr – 11Fr

Central venous catheters and PICC lines

  • Central venous catheter: 3Fr – 7Fr
  • PICC line: 1.5Fr – 6Fr

Hemodialysis catheters

  • Hemodialysis Catheter: 11Fr – 15Fr

atheter lengths also vary depending on the application, ranging from a few centimeters to over 100 centimeters. For specific medical procedures, the size and length of the catheter will be selected by the medical professional based on the patient’s anatomy and treatment needs. Furthermore, in addition to size, the catheter’s material, flexibility, transparency, visibility under X-ray (e.g., whether it contains X-ray contrast agent) and the presence of special features (e.g., multi-lumen, with side holes, etc.) are factors that must be taken into account when selecting a catheter.

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