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 one that starts while a catheter is in place or shortly after it is taken out. The catheter is a tube that is passed up into the bladder. It allows urine to drain out when the body is not able to do so.
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CAUTI is caused by a germ that has entered 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 CAUTIs can happen when:
The risk of CAUTI increases with the amount of time the catheter is in place.
CAUTI is more common in women. The chances of CAUTI are also higher in those with:
Not everyone with CAUTI has symptoms. In those that have them, symptoms may include:
Once the catheter is removed, symptoms may also include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health past. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may suspect a CAUTI based on your answers and the exam.
To confirm a UTI the doctor may order:
The tube will be taken out as soon as it can.
Antibiotics will fight 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 best step is to avoid catheter use if not needed. To help prevent an infection when a catheter is needed, the care team will:
People with a catheter can also take steps including:
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. Updated May 29, 2019. Accessed July 17, 2019.
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 March 28, 2017.
Hooton TM, Bradley SF, Cardenas DD, et al. Diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of catheter-associated urinary tract infection in adults: 2009 International Clinical Practice Guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis. 2010;50(5):625-663.
Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD Last Updated: 04/22/2022