Effect of body surface decolonisation on bacteriuria and candiduria in intensive care units: an analysis of a cluster-randomised trial

Lancet Infect Dis. 2016 Jan;16(1):70-79. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(15)00238-8. Epub 2015 Nov 27.


Background: Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common health-care-associated infections. Bacteriuria commonly precedes UTI and is often treated with antibiotics, particularly in hospital intensive care units (ICUs). In 2013, a cluster-randomised trial (REDUCE MRSA Trial [Randomized Evaluation of Decolonization vs Universal Clearance to Eradicate MRSA]) showed that body surface decolonisation reduced all-pathogen bloodstream infections. We aim to further assess the effect of decolonisation on bacteriuria and candiduria in patients admitted to ICUs.

Methods: We did a secondary analysis of a three-group, cluster-randomised trial of 43 hospitals (clusters) with patients in 74 adult ICUs. The three groups included were either meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) screening and isolation, targeted decolonisation (screening, isolation, and decolonisation of MRSA carriers) with chlorhexidine and mupirocin, and universal decolonisation (no screening, all patients decolonised) with chlorhexidine and mupirocin. Protocol included chlorhexidine cleansing of the perineum and proximal 6 inches (15·24 cm) of urinary catheters. ICUs within the same hospital were assigned the same strategy. Outcomes included high-level bacteriuria (≥50 000 colony forming units [CFU]/mL) with any uropathogen, high-level candiduria (≥50 000 CFU/mL), and any bacteriuria with uropathogens. Sex-specific analyses were specified a priori. Proportional hazards models assessed differences in outcome reductions across groups, comparing an 18-month intervention period to a 12-month baseline period.

Findings: 122 646 patients (48 390 baseline, 74 256 intervention) were enrolled. Intervention versus baseline hazard ratios (HRs) for high-level bacteriuria were 1·02 (95% CI 0·88-1·18) for screening or isolation, 0·88 (0·76-1·02) for targeted decolonisation, and 0·87 (0·77-1·00) for universal decolonisation (no difference between groups, p=0·26), with no sex-specific reductions (HRs for men: 1·09 [95% CI 0·85-1·40] for screening or isolation, 1·01 [0·79-1·29] for targeted decolonisation, and 0·78 [0·63-0·98] for universal decolonisation, p=0·12; HRs for women: 0·97 [0·80-1·17] for screening and isolation, 0·83 [0·70-1·00] for targeted decolonisation, and 0·93 [0·79-1·09] for universal decolonisation, p=0·49). HRs for high-level candiduria were 1·14 (0·95-1·37) for screening and isolation, 0·99 (0·83-1·18) for targeted decolonisation, and 0·83 (0·70-0·99) for universal decolonisation (p=0·05). Differences between sexes were due to reductions in men in the universal decolonisation group (HRs: 1·21 [95% CI 0·88-1·68] for screening or isolation, 1·01 [0·73-1·39] for targeted decolonisation, and 0·63 [0·45-0·89] for universal decolonisation, p=0·02). Bacteriuria with any CFU/mL was also reduced in men in the universal decolonisation group (HRs 1·01 [0·81-1·25] for screening or isolation, 1·04 [0·83-1·30] for targeted decolonisation, and 0·74 [0·61-0·90] for universal decolonisation, p=0·04).

Interpretation: Universal decolonisation of patients in the ICU with once a day chlorhexidine baths and short-course nasal mupirocin could be a potential preventive strategy in male patients because it significantly decreases candiduria and any bacteriuria, but not for women.

Funding: HAI Program from AHRQ, US Department of Health and Human Services as part of the Developing Evidence to Inform Decisions about Effectiveness (DEcIDE) program, CDC Prevention Epicenters Program.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Bacteriuria / microbiology
  • Bacteriuria / prevention & control
  • Candida / isolation & purification
  • Candidiasis / microbiology
  • Candidiasis / prevention & control*
  • Candidiasis / urine
  • Carrier State / drug therapy*
  • Carrier State / microbiology
  • Carrier State / prevention & control
  • Chlorhexidine / therapeutic use
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Disinfection / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Mupirocin / therapeutic use
  • Sex Factors
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / urine


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Mupirocin
  • Chlorhexidine