Adoption of policies to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections in United States intensive care units

Am J Infect Control. 2012 Oct;40(8):705-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2011.09.020. Epub 2012 Feb 7.


Background: Little is known about whether recommended strategies to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) are being implemented in intensive care units (ICU) in the United States.

Objectives: Our objectives were to describe the presence of and adherence to CAUTI prevention policies in ICUs, to identify variations in policies based on organizational characteristics, and to determine whether a relationship exists between prevention policies and CAUTI incidence rates.

Methods: Four hundred forty-one hospitals that participate in the National Healthcare Safety Network were surveyed in spring 2008.

Results: Two hundred fifty hospitals provided information for 415 ICUs (response rate, 57%). A small proportion of ICUs surveyed had policies supporting bladder ultrasound (26%, n = 106), condom catheters (20%, n = 82), catheter removal reminders (12%, n = 51), or nurse-initiated catheter discontinuation (10%, n = 39). ICUs in hospitals with ≥ 500 beds were half as likely as those in smaller hospitals to have adopted at least 1 CAUTI prevention policy (odds ratio, 0.52; 95% confidence interval: 0.33-0.86), and ICUs in hospitals where the infection control director reported always having access to key decision makers for planning were more than twice as likely as those with less access to have adopted a policy (odds ratio, 2.41; 95% confidence interval: 1.56-3.72).

Conclusion: Little attention is currently placed on CAUTI prevention in ICUs in the United States. Further research is needed to elucidate relationships between adherence to CAUTI prevention recommendations and CAUTI incidence rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Catheter-Related Infections / epidemiology
  • Catheter-Related Infections / prevention & control*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Data Collection
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Health Policy
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / standards*
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Population Surveillance
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urinary Catheterization / adverse effects*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control*