Preventing hospital-acquired urinary tract infection in the United States: A national study

Sanjay Saint, Christine P. Kowalski, Samuel R. Kaufman, Timothy P. Hofer, Carol A. Kauffman, Russell N. Olmsted, Jane Forman, Jane Banaszak-Holl, Laura Damschroder, Sarah L. Krein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

183 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Although urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most common hospital-acquired infection in the United States, to our knowledge, no national data exist describing what hospitals in the United States are doing to prevent this patient safety problem. We conducted a national study to examine the current practices used by hospitals to prevent hospital-acquired UTI. Methods. We mailed written surveys to infection control coordinators at a national random sample of nonfederal US hospitals with an intensive care unit and ≥50 hospital beds (n = 600) and to all Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals (n = 119). The survey asked about practices to prevent hospital-acquired UTI and other device-associated infections. Results. The response rate was 72%. Overall, 56% of hospitals did not have a system for monitoring which patients had urinary catheters placed, and 74% did not monitor catheter duration. Thirty percent of hospitals reported regularly using antimicrobial urinary catheters and portable bladder scanners; 14% used condom catheters, and 9% used catheter reminders. VA hospitals were more likely than non-VA hospitals to use portable bladder scanners (49% vs. 29%; P < .001), condom catheters (46% vs. 12%; P < .001), and suprapubic catheters (22% vs. 9%; P < .001); non-VA hospitals were more likely to use antimicrobial urinary catheters (30% vs. 14%; P = .002). Conclusions. Despite the strong link between urinary catheters and subsequent UTI, we found no strategy that appeared to be widely used to prevent hospital-acquired UTI. The most commonly used practices - bladder ultrasound and antimicrobial catheters - were each used in fewer than one-third of hospitals, and urinary catheter reminders, which have proven benefits, were used in <10% of US hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-250
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2008

Cite this