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Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections in Intensive Care Units Can Be Reduced by Prompting Physicians to Remove Unnecessary Catheters

  • Wei-Chun Huang (a1), Shue-Ren Wann (a1) (a2), Shoa-Lin Lin (a1) (a3), Calvin M. Kunin (a4), Ming-Ho Kung (a1), Chin-Hsun Lin (a1), Chien-Wei Hsu (a1), Chun-Peng Liu (a3), Susan Shin-Jung Lee (a2), Yung-Ching Liu (a2), Kwok-Hung Lai (a3) and Tzu-Wen Lin (a5)...



Indwelling urinary catheters are the most common source of infections in intensive care units (ICUs). The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of nurse-generated daily reminders to physicians to remove unnecessary urinary catheters 5 days after insertion.


A time-sequence nonrandomized intervention study.


Adult ICUs (medical, surgical, cardiovascular surgical, neurosurgical, and coronary care) of a tertiary-care university medical center.


All patients admitted to the adult ICUs during a 2-year period. The study consisted of a 12-month observational phase (15,960 patient-days) followed by a 12-month intervention phase (15,525 patient-days).


Daily reminders to physicians from the nursing staff to remove unnecessary urinary catheters 5 days after insertion.


The duration of urinary catheterization was significantly reduced during the intervention phase (from 7.0 ± 1.1 days to 4.6 ± 0.7 days; P < .001). The rate of catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) was also significantly reduced (from 11.5 ± 3.1 to 8.3 ± 2.5 patients with CAUTI per 1,000 catheter-days; P = .009). There was a linear relationship between the monthly average duration of catheterization and the rate of CAUTI (r = 0.50; P = .01). The excess monthly cost of antibiotics for CAUTI was reduced by 69% (from $4,021 ± $1,800 to $1,220 ± $941; P = .004).


This study demonstrated that a simple measure instituted as part of a continuous quality improvement program significantly reduced the duration of urinary catheterization, rate of CAUTI, and additional costs of antibiotics to manage CAUTI.


Corresponding author

Intensive Care Unit, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, No. 386, Dar-Chung First Road, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Republic of China


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