Reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections in the ICU

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Patients in the ICU are at higher risk for catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) due to more frequent use of catheters and lower threshold for obtaining urine cultures. This review provides a summary of CAUTI reduction strategies that are specific to the intensive care setting.

Recent findings

The surveillance definition for CAUTI is imprecise and measures catheter-associated bacteriuria rather than true infection. Alternatives have been proposed, but CAUTI rates measured by this definition are currently required to be reported to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and high CAUTI rates can result in financial penalties. Although CAUTI may not directly result in significant patient harm, it has several indirect patient safety implications and CAUTI reduction has several benefits. Various bundles have been successful at reducing CAUTI both in individual institutions and on larger scales such as healthcare networks and entire states.

Summary

CAUTI reduction is possible in the ICU through a combination of reduced catheter usage, improved catheter care and stewardship of urine cultures.

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