The urinary tract includes the kidneys, bladder, and tubes connected to them. Infections can start in any part of this tract. A catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is due to a tube placed in the bladder. The tube is called a catheter. It allows urine to drain out when the body is not able to do so.
A CAUTI needs to be treated right away to prevent more problems.
The Urinary Tract
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CAUTI is caused by a germ that gets into the urinary tract. In this case, the germs may be brought into the tract by the catheter. A care team will take many steps to prevent infections. However, a CAUTI can happen when:
CAUTI is more common in women and older people. Other things that raise the risk are:
Not everyone with CAUTI has symptoms. In those that have them, symptoms may be:
Once the catheter is removed, symptoms may also include:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may suspect a CAUTI based on symptoms and an exam.
To confirm a UTI the doctor may order:
Antibiotics will treat the infection. They may be given through an IV or taken by mouth. The medicine can be changed based what germ is causing problems.
The catheter will be taken out as soon as it can.
The best step is to not use a catheter unless needed. When a catheter is needed, the risk of infection can be lowered by:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Infection Prevention and Control Canada
Catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/catheter-associated-urinary-tract-infection-cauti . Accessed July 28, 2021.
Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hai/ca_uti/uti.html. Accessed July 28, 2021.
Flores-Mireles A, Hreha TN, et al. Pathophysiology, treatment, and prevention of catheter-associated urinary tract infection. Top Spinal Cord Inj Rehabil. 2019;25(3):228-240.
Last reviewed July 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Dan Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 7/28/2021