Urinary tract infections have been found to account for up to 40% of annual healthcare-associated infections and as much as 80% of these can be attributed to indwelling urethral catheters. Application of evidence-based catheter insertion and maintenance guidelines has lead to considerable reductions in catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) rates. Risk of developing a urinary tract infection is directly related to duration of catheterisation.
Although CAUTIs are not usually life-threatening, complications of CAUTI (e.g. urethritis, urethral strictures, haematuria, bladder obstruction, and sepsis) do cause suffering and can increase a patient’s length of stay in hospital with resultant increase in cost.