Background: In October 2008, Medicare and Medicaid stopped paying for care associated with catheter-related urinary tract infections (UTIs). Although most clinicians agree UTIs are detrimental, there are little data to support this belief.
Methods: This is a retrospective review of trauma registry data from a Level I trauma center between 2003 and 2008. Two proportional hazards regressions were used for analyses. The first predicted acquisition of UTI as a function of indwelling urinary catheter use, adjusting for age, diabetes, gender, and injury severity. The second predicted hospital mortality as a function of UTI, covarying for age, gender, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, pneumonia, and injury severity.
Results: After excluding patients who stayed in the hospital <3 days and those with a UTI on arrival, 5,736 patients were included in the study. Of these patients, 680 (11.9%) met criteria for a UTI, with 487 (71.6%) indwelling urinary catheter-related infections. Predictors of UTI included the interaction between age and gender (p = 0.0018), Injury Severity Score (p = 0.0021), and indwelling urinary catheter use (p < 0.001). The development of a UTI predicted the risk of in-hospital death as a patient's age increased (p = 0.002). Similar results were seen when only catheter-associated UTIs are included in the analysis.
Conclusions: Indwelling urinary catheter use is connected to the development of UTIs, and these infections are associated with a greater mortality as the age of a trauma patients increases.