Study: Urinary Catheters Are Leading Cause of Hospital-Acquired Infections

According to a new study published in the January issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Deseases, one in four hospitalized Americans has a urinary catheter. One percent of them will get a urinary tract infection from that catheter. All will require antibiotics, and a few may suffer life-threatening complications.

The study, which was conducted by a team of patient safety experts from the University of Michigan Health System and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, says that UTIs are responsible for 40 percent of infections related to hospitalization. But despite this fact, American hospitals don't seem to have a consistent strategy for preventing catheter-related UTIs. In fact, the study shows, most hospitals aren't using basic tactics that have been proven to keep patients from getting catheter-related UTIs in the first place. Nearly one-third of hospitals didn't even track the UTI rates in their patient populations.

"Until now, we haven't had national data to tell us what hospitals are doing to prevent this common and costly patient-safety problem," said lead author Sanjay Saint, M.D., MPH, the director of the U-M/VA Patient Safety Enhancement Program. "Now that we have these data, it's clear that there's no one dominant practice that's being used, including physician reminders, which have proven benefit and make a lot of common sense."

The researchers designed a survey that they sent to all 119 VA hospitals in the Unites States, and to a random sample of 600 non-federal hospitals that have an intensive care unit and 50 or more hospital beds. This sample was designed to represent the 2,671 hospitals of that type in the U.S.

The survey asked about a range of practices that can be used to prevent hospital-acquired UTIs, including the use of catheters coated with antimicrobial agents that inhibit bacterial growth, the use of condom-style and suprapubic catheters that reduce the risk of bacteria entering the urethra, the use of antimicrobial agents in the drainage bags that collect urine, and the use of portable ultrasound bladder scanners to see of patients' bladders were truly being emptied without a catheter.

In all, the researchers found that less than a third of hospitals used either of the two most common tactics: bladder scanners and antimicrobial catheters. VA hospitals were more likely than non-VA hospitals to use bladder scanners, condom catheters and suprapubic catheters, but less likely to use the antimicrobial catheters, which cost about $5 more apiece than regular catheters.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Everything You Need to Know about Incident investigations

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark CP

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2020

    October 2020

    Featuring:

    • FACILITY SECURITY
      EHS Compliance: Make it Personal
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      Choosing the Right Safety Shoe for Your Industry
    • HAND PROTECTION
      A Requirements Checklists for Work Safety Gloves
    • COVID-19 MANAGEMENT
      Contemporary Issues in HSE Management
    View This Issue