Purpose of review: The development of urinary tract infections in critically ill adult patients is associated with considerable morbidity, prolonged hospitalization, and greater healthcare expenditures. We review the occurrence, microbiology, risk factors for acquisition, and outcomes associated with intensive care unit-acquired urinary tract infections.
Recent findings: Reports from several countries indicate that nosocomial urinary tract infections frequently complicate the course of patients admitted to intensive care units. Virtually all patients who develop an intensive care unit-acquired urinary tract infection have indwelling urinary catheters; other factors associated with the development of these infections include increased duration of urinary catheterization, female sex, intensive care unit length of stay, and preceding systemic antimicrobial therapy. The most frequent pathogens include Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, enterococci, and Candida albicans; both the species distribution and rates of resistance vary considerably among institutions and regions. Secondary bloodstream infections are uncommon. Although acquisition of an intensive care unit-acquired urinary tract infection has been associated with a prolongation of intensive care unit length of stay, higher cost, and a higher crude case fatality rate, they do not appear to independently increase the risk for death.
Summary: Urinary tract infection is a common complication of critical illness that is associated with increased patient morbidity but not mortality. There is a relative paucity of research on nosocomial urinary tract infection specifically acquired in the intensive care unit and further studies are needed to better define the epidemiology and management of these infections.