An economic model to assess the cost and benefits of the routine use of silver alloy coated urinary catheters to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections in catheterized patients

J Hosp Infect. 2001 May;48(1):33-42. doi: 10.1053/jhin.2001.0938.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alloys / economics*
  • Alloys / standards*
  • Catheters, Indwelling / economics*
  • Catheters, Indwelling / standards*
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / economics*
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / standards*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Cross Infection / economics*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / etiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Hospital Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infection Control / economics
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Models, Econometric*
  • Patient Admission / economics
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Silver / economics*
  • Silver / standards*
  • State Medicine
  • Urinary Catheterization / adverse effects*
  • Urinary Catheterization / instrumentation*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / economics*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / etiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control*


  • Alloys
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Silver