Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infections
What is a cathetheter-associated urinary tract infection (CA-UTI)?
A urinary catheter, which some people call a "Foley" catheter, is a short tube that is inserted into a patient's bladder through the urethra. It is often used during and after major surgeries to allow the patient's urine to drain freely from the bladder into a collection bag. A catheter-associated urinary tract infection, commonly referred to as a CA-UTI by health professionals, can sometimes occur when germs begin to grow in the tube and cause an infection. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections are some of the most common preventable infections among patients.
What are we doing to reduce CA-UTIs?
To prevent CA-UTIs, doctors, nurses and other health professionals:
- Use special catheters shown to decrease the risk of infection.
- Wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before inserting the catheter.
- Wear sterile gloves when putting in the catheter to keep it free of germs, decreasing the risk of infection.
- Clean the opening for the catheter -- called the urethra -- with a germ-killing antiseptic cleanser before inserting the catheter.
- Clean their hands, wear gloves and clean the catheter opening with a germ-killing antiseptic cleaning solution.
- Remove the catheter as soon as possible by evaluating every day whether the patient still needs to have the catheter.
What can patients do to help?
Patients and their families can also help to reduce the risk of CA-UTIs. For more information, please read the CA-UTI fact sheet.
How are we doing?
University of Missouri Health Care has significantly improved our CA-UTI rates by implementing the above practices. Our infection rates are calculated by comparing the average number of infections for every 1,000 days our patients have urinary catheters. MU Health Care's CA-UTI rates have steadily decreased over the past four years. Our current rates are 2.15 infections per 1,000 device days, compared to a rate of 5.8 infections per 1,000 device days in 2007. That current rate is lower than expected according to comparison benchmarks from the National Healthcare Safety Network, a group of more than 1,500 hospitals throughout the country, which compares our intensive care units' CA-UTI rates to those at major teaching hospitals throughout the country.
More infection prevention measures
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