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Catheter-associated urinary tract infection: signs, diagnosis, prevention

24 January 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 2


Catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is one of the most prevalent healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in the UK and can have implications for both the patient and the health service. This article highlights those at risk, the signs and symptoms of CAUTI, diagnosis, methods of prevention and treatment. It highlights current guidance available to nurses to help ensure they are following the most recent recommendations for best practice.

In Europe 4 million people a year will develop a healthcare-associated infection (HAI), of whom 37 000 will die as a direct result (Public Health England (PHE), 2016). A urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most common of these infections and in the UK accounts for 19% of all HAIs. The major risk factor for developing a UTI is having a urethral catheter in situ and between 43% and 56% of UTIs are associated with having a catheter (Loveday et al, 2014). Catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) has major implications both for patient safety and for the costs of healthcare delivery (Oman et al, 2012). As nurses provide the majority of catheter care it is important to be aware of how and why CAUTI occurs, identify those at risk of CAUTI, signs and symptoms of CAUTI and prevention strategies.

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