Common Catheter Leak Detection Methods

Investing in catheter leak detection equipment is excellent. However, it's important to understand that there is not one single option for testing. As a result, you should at least have a general idea of the different testing methods before you purchase the equipment. Here is a short recap of some of the standard techniques used for catheter leak testing.


The gas method of leak detection relies on a combination of hydrogen and helium. While a newer testing method, gases are thought to be more sensitive, which means they be able to detect leaks that other techniques might otherwise miss. As part of the test, gas is forced through the catheter line. 

The testing equipment then measures how much gas, if any, escapes from the line. Since the system will also measure exactly how much gas was pushed through the line, it's thought to be more accurate because it can tell exactly how much gas is also escaping, which will give a more precise account of the size of the leak. 

Wet Method

Wet leak testing is one of the more complicated instances of testing because it includes several steps. First, the catheter line is filled with pressurized air. Once the reading is collected, the line is placed in a water basin. If there is a leak, the pressurized air will create water bubbles.

While this option is excellent for detecting the presence of a leak, it does not offer much in terms of calculating the type of leak and the rate at which the air is escaping the line. For this reason, some people view the wet method as a less accurate option. 

Pressure Decay

Pressure decay is a form of dry air testing. When the catheter line is connected to the equipment, a burst of pressurized air is released into the line. Instead of monitoring the amount of air that escapes from the line, this testing method continues to monitor the pressure reading in the catheter line. 

For some people, pressure decay is thought to be a faster testing option because at the same time the system is calculating the pressure reading, it can detect the presence of the leak and just how rapidly the air is leaking, which can offer cues on the magnitude of the leak. 

Catheter leak detection machines are so useful because not only do they allow different testing methods, but they also test for a variety of different leak types, which is helpful when it comes to correcting a leak. Find a unit that will be able to meet your needs for the best outcome.