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Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI)

What is a catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI)?

Prolonged use of a catheter can lead to the development of a catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). This is caused by bacteria entering the catheter and reaching the urinary tract.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects the urinary tract system and includes the bladder, urethra, and ureters kidneys.

A catheter is a flexible tube used to drain urine from the bladder, which is collected into a bag. They are used for many reasons, such as for patients who cannot empty their bladder naturally or for draining the bladder before, during, or after surgery. 

Some of the symptoms of a CAUTI are:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Urine leakage around the catheter
  • Burning sensation when passing urine
  • Confusion
  • Fever

There are many measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of a CAUTI, such as:

  • Limiting the length of time a catheter is used
  • Following proper catheter insertion and removal procedures
  • Proper aseptic technique and sterile equipment

Why is a catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) important in healthcare?

A catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is one of the most common healthcare-associated infections (HAI) worldwide. According to the CDC, approximately 75% of UTIs acquired in the hospital are associated with a urinary catheter, and between 15-25% of hospitalized patients receive a urinary catheter during their hospital stay.

A CAUTI can lead to further healthcare complications for the patient, a longer hospitalization period, and increased healthcare costs.

It is important to ensure that healthcare providers are educated and trained in CAUTI prevention strategies so that the risk can be minimized.