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Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection involving any part of the urinary system, including the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidney. UTIs are the most common type of healthcare-associated infection reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). Among UTIs acquired in the hospital, approximately 75% are associated with a urinary catheter, which is a tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra to drain urine. Between 15 and 25% of hospitalized patients receive urinary catheters during their hospital stay. The most important risk factor for developing a catheter-associated UTI (CAUTI) is prolonged use of the urinary catheter. Therefore, catheters should only be used for appropriate indications and should be removed as soon as they are no longer needed.

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth recognizes that urinary catheters should only be used when needed and, when used, they should be removed as soon as possible. This often makes patients more comfortable, reduces their exposure to infection, and shortens their time in the hospital. We are dedicated to preventing healthcare-acquired catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) in our patients and have implemented practices that:

  • Avoid the unnecessary use of urinary catheters
  • Ensure sterile techniques are used when inserting urinary catheters
  • Follow recommended guidelines for the care and maintenance of urinary catheters
  • Use accepted standards to perform a daily review to determine the need to continue the urinary catheter

Our overall goal is to reduce the unnecessary use of catheters, decrease the length of time that catheters stay in, and minimize the chance of patients developing infections associated with a urinary catheter. We have a robust infection surveillance program that allows us to quickly identify and treat infections, identify the cause, and collect infection data that is reported internally and to appropriate external organizations.

Updated 3 April 2023
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