Utilizing national nosocomial infection surveillance system data to improve urinary tract infection rates in three intensive-care units

Clin Perform Qual Health Care. 1998 Oct-Dec;6(4):172-8.


Objective: To reduce catheter-related urinary tract infection rates in three intensive-care units to at or below the National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance System pooled mean for similar units.

Design: A nursing team, physician team, and laboratory team reviewed and revised protocols and procedures for better catheter management.

Setting: A 500-bed community teaching hospital.

Interventions: The teams developed medical indications for urinary catheter placement and criteria that allowed the registered nurse to remove a catheter without a physician's order when no longer medically necessary. They created a computer prompt to assure a urinalysis accompanied all urine cultures.

Results: After introducing the new protocols, the incidence density of catheter-related urinary tract infections fell 17% in the surgical intensive-care unit, 29% in the medical intensive-care acute unit, and 45% in the coronary intensive-care acute unit. The registered nurses' compliance in removing the catheter per protocol was 88%. Physician ordering of a concomitant urinalysis with each urine culture achieved 93%.

Conclusions: A multidisciplinary approach assisted in reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections in three intensive-care units, although not to the extent desired. The teams are investigating preconnected and antimicrobial-coated catheters further.

MeSH terms

  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects*
  • Connecticut / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Hospitals, Community / organization & administration
  • Hospitals, Teaching / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / standards*
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Population Surveillance
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / etiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control*