Intervention Decreases Urinary Tract Infections from Catheters


Compared to other healthcare-associated infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) cause relatively low rates of mortality and morbidity, but their prevalence nevertheless leads to a considerable cumulative burden.

Image Credit: Shuttershock.com

Image Credit: Shuttershock.com

Hospitalists can impact CAUTI rates by using a simple bundle of interventions. This idea was recently demonstrated by a quality improvement project addressing high CAUTI rates in the hospital setting. The project was summarized in a paper published in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

The project identified a bundle of primary interventions to reduce CAUTI, which consisted of six elements: the “6 Cs” of CAUTI reduction. These include “consider alternatives,” “culture urine only when indication is clear,” and “connect with a securement device.” The interventions were implemented on one ICU with excellent results and subsequently diffused throughout the healthcare facility using multimedia tools. CAUTI rates decreased by 70%.

“The first steps in CAUTI prevention are to ensure that catheters are placed only when necessary, aseptic technique used for placement, and that they are removed when no longer essential,” says lead author Priya Sampathkumar, MD, Mayo Clinic associate professor of medicine. “Once this has been achieved, if CAUTI rates are still high, a secondary bundle of CAUTI prevention can help to reduce CAUTI further.”

About one in four hospitalized patients have a urinary catheter in place.2 “Hospitalists, therefore, can have a significant impact on CAUTI by being mindful about catheter use and catheter management.” Dr. Sampathkumar says.


  1. Sampathkumar P, Barth JW, Johnson M, et al. Mayo Clinic reduces catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2016;42(6):254-265.
  2. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed August 8, 2016.

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