Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system. This includes the urethra, a tube that carries urine out of the body, the bladder, and the kidneys. A catheter-associated UTI is an infection that starts while a catheter is in place or shortly after.
A catheter is a tube that is passed through the urethra into the bladder. It helps drain urine out when the body is not able to. This can happen during surgery or after surgery if the area needs to heal. Sometimes it is needed for problems with the bladder or urethra. The urine passes from the bladder, through the tube, to a bag outside the body.
CAUTI is caused by germs, such as bacteria or yeasts. Bacteria is the most common cause.
The catheter makes it easier for germs to pass into the urinary system. Infections can occur when:
CAUTI is more common in women and people of increased age. Other factors that may increase your chance of a CAUTI include:
Symptoms may not always be present. When symptoms are present, they may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will suspect a UTI based on this information.
To confirm the diagnosis or to look for other causes of your symptoms, the doctor will order:
CAUTIs can be more difficult to treat than other UTIs. The first thing to do is remove the current catheter. Antibiotics will be given to help fight infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotics may be given through an IV or by injection for severe infections.
Increasing fluids is also encouraged to flush germs out of the urinary tract.
Healthcare professionals will take steps to reduce your chance of a CAUTI, such as:
To lower their chance of a CAUTI patients should:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Infection Prevention and Control Canada
Catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... Updated January 26, 2017. Accessed June 22, 2017.
Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hai/ca_uti/uti.html. Updated October 16, 2015. Accessed March 28, 2017.
Frequently asked questions about catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hai/ca_uti/cauti_faqs.html. Updated October 2, 2015. Accessed March 28, 2017.
Last reviewed June 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FACP
Last Last updated: 6/22/2017
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