Prevention of catheter-associated UTI is focus of new CDC Guidelines

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a national guideline on the prevention of catheter-associated UTIs. Dr. Carolyn Gould, the primary author of these guidelines, has blogged to bring awareness to this growing group of infections. In her post, she calls catheter-associated UTIs “one of the most common, yet most preventable” types of healthcare-associated infections.

The new CDC guideline for the prevention of catheter-associated UTIs is an updated and expanded version of the original published thirty years ago. Today, urinary tract infections are the #1 most common healthcare-associated infection. They account for 30% of all reported cases of HAIs and are responsible for killing an estimated 13,000 Americans every year2. 75% of healthcare-associated UTIs have been linked to the use of urinary catheters3. Patients who require long-term urinary catheterization are most at risk, since the odds of developing an infection increase with the duration of catheterization.

Scientists are now reporting an increasing number of catheter-associated UTIs that are resistant to common antibiotic treatments. This is even more reason why hospital protocols should be implemented to prevent these infections from occurring. Studies have suggested that out of all healthcare-associated infections, catheter-associated UTIs are the largest reservoir of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.4 As Dr. Gould points out in her blog post, more work needs to be done to prevent these infections from occurring, such as implementing comprehensive programs like those illustrated in the new CDC guidelines.  These programs have the potential of saving billions of dollars in healthcare costs and significantly reducing the volume of unnecessary antibiotics used to treat catheter-associated UTIs. What we cannot estimate, but must begin to respect, are the socio-economic consequences of these infections – days lost at work and with family bring the ramifications far beyond the walls of any hospital.

  1. UCLA Health System
  2. Klevens RM, Edward JR, et al. Estimating health care-associated infections and deaths in U.S. hospitals, 2002. Public Health Reports 2007;122:160-166
  3. CDC:
  4. Maki et al. Engineering Out The Risk of Infection With Urinary Catheters. Emergin Infectious Diseases 2001 Vol 7(2)
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