Prevalence studies generally find nosocomial urinary tract infections to be the most common type of nosocomial infection, accounting for between 21% and 45% of all HAIs. The main risk factor appears to be the presence of a urinary catheter, with an estimated 80% of these infections being associated with their use. This paper describes a model which quantifies the extent of the burden of these infections in terms of the number of patients affected and the costs incurred by the hospital sector; and identifies the potential benefits of the routine use of silver alloy coated catheters, as a means of reducing the incidence of this type of infection. An illustrative model of the annual costs and benefits associated with the routine use of this intervention in adult, non-day case patients admitted to the medical and surgical specialties of NHS hospitals throughout England is presented. The results suggest that a 14.6% reduction in the incidence of urinary tract infections in catheterized medical patients, and a 11.4% reduction in catheterized surgical patients, would cover the cost of the intervention. Any further reduction in incidence would result in net positive benefits.
Copyright 2001 The Hospital Infection Society.