Stop orders to reduce inappropriate urinary catheterization in hospitalized patients: a randomized controlled trial

J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Jun;23(6):816-20. doi: 10.1007/s11606-008-0620-2. Epub 2008 Apr 18.


Background: Hospitalized patients frequently have urinary catheters inserted for inappropriate reasons. This can lead to urinary tract infections and other complications.

Objective: To assess whether stop orders for indwelling urinary catheters reduces the duration of inappropriate urinary catheterization and the incidence of urinary tract infections.

Design: A randomized controlled trial was conducted in three tertiary-care hospitals in Ontario, Canada. Patients with indwelling urinary catheters were randomized to prewritten orders for the removal of urinary catheters if specified criteria were not present or to usual care.

Participants: Six hundred ninety-two hospitalized patients admitted to hospital with indwelling urinary catheters inserted for < or = 48 h.

Measurements: The main outcomes included days of inappropriate indwelling catheter use, total days of catheter use, frequency of urinary tract infection, and catheter reinsertions.

Results: There were fewer days of inappropriate and total urinary catheter use in the stop-order group than in the usual care group (difference -1.69 [95% CI -1.23 to -2.15], P < 0.001 and -1.34 days, [95% CI, -0.64 to -2.05 days], P < 0.001, respectively). Urinary tract infections occurred in 19.0% of the stop-order group and 20.2% of the usual care group, relative risk 0.94 (95% CI, 0.66 to 1.33), P = 0.71. Catheter reinsertion occurred in 8.6% of the stop-order group and 7.0% in the usual care group, relative risk 1.23 (95% CI, 0.72 to 2.11), P = 0.45.

Conclusions: Stop orders for urinary catheterization safely reduced duration of inappropriate urinary catheterization in hospitalized patients but did not reduce urinary tract infections.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects
  • Catheters, Indwelling / standards*
  • Critical Pathways*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control
  • Device Removal*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • Unnecessary Procedures*
  • Urinary Catheterization / adverse effects
  • Urinary Catheterization / standards*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control