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Catheter-related UTI

UTI - catheter associated; Urinary tract infection - catheter associated; Nosocomial UTI; Health care-associated UTI; Catheter-associated bacteriuria; Hospital-acquired UTI

A catheter is a tube in your bladder that removes urine from the body. This tube may stay in place for an extended period of time. If so, it is called an indwelling catheter. The urine drains from your bladder into a bag outside your body.

When you have an indwelling urinary catheter, you are more likely to develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) in your bladder or kidneys.

Images

Bladder catheterization - female
Bladder catheterization - male

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Causes

Many types of bacteria or fungi can cause a catheter-related UTI. This type of UTI is harder to treat with common antibiotics.

Common reasons to have an indwelling catheter are:

During a hospital stay, you may have an indwelling catheter:

Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms are:

Other symptoms that may occur with a UTI:

Exams and Tests

Urine tests will check for infection:

Your provider may recommend:

Treatment

People with an indwelling catheter will often have an abnormal urinalysis and culture from urine in the bag. But even if these tests are abnormal, you may not have a UTI. This fact makes it harder for your provider to choose whether to treat you.

If you also have symptoms of a UTI, your provider will likely treat you with antibiotics.

If you do not have symptoms, your provider will treat you with antibiotics only if:

Most of the time, you can take antibiotics by mouth. It is very important to take all of them, even if you feel better before you finish them. If your infection is more severe, you may receive medicine into the vein. You may also receive medicine to lessen bladder spasms.

You will need more fluids to help flush bacteria out of your bladder. If you are treating yourself at home, this may mean drinking six to eight glasses of fluid a day. You should ask your provider how much fluid is safe for you. Avoid fluids that irritate your bladder, such as alcohol, citrus juices, and drinks that contain caffeine.

After you have finished your treatment, you may have another urine test. This test will make sure the germs are gone.

Your catheter will need to be changed when you have a UTI. If you have many UTIs, your provider may remove the catheter. The provider may also:

This can help prevent bacteria from growing in your catheter.

Outlook (Prognosis)

UTIs related to catheters can be harder to treat than other UTIs. Having many infections over time may lead to kidney damage or kidney stones and bladder stones.

Untreated UTI may develop kidney damage or more severe infections.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you have:

Prevention

If you have an indwelling catheter, you must do these things to help prevent infection:

Related Information

Urinary tract infection - adults
Urinary tract infection - children

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). www.cdc.gov/hai/ca_uti/uti.html. Updated October 16, 2015. Accessed April 30, 2020.

Jacob JM, Sundaram CP. Lower urinary tract catheterization. Partin AW, Dmochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 11.

Nicolle LE, Drekonja D. Approach to the patient with urinary tract infection. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 268.

Trautner BW, Hooton TM. Health care-associated urinary tract infections. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 302.

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Review Date: 4/26/2020  

Reviewed By: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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