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Reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections in the ICU

Sampathkumar, Priya

Current Opinion in Critical Care: October 2017 - Volume 23 - Issue 5 - p 372–377
doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000441
INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Edited by Andre C. Kalil

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.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, USA

Correspondence to Priya Sampathkumar, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200, First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. Tel: +1 507 255 7938; fax: +1 507 255 7767; e-mail:

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