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Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infection


A catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is an infection caused by an indwelling urinary catheter. An indwelling urinary catheter is a thin, flexible tube that is inserted into the bladder. It is left in place to drain urine. The infection may travel along the catheter and into the bladder or kidneys.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


  • Antibiotics help prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Antifungals help prevent or treat an infection caused by fungus.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • IV fluids may be given to help flush the infection from your bladder and kidneys.


  • A urinalysis will give information about your urinary tract and overall health.
  • A urine culture may show the type of germ causing the infection.
  • Blood tests will show infection and kidney function.

Healthcare providers help prevent a CAUTI:

Healthcare providers will do many things to prevent a CAUTI while you are in the hospital. They will insert urinary catheters using sterile technique. Sterile technique means cleaning the skin where the catheter will be put in, and using special gloves and instruments. Healthcare providers may use other catheters to decrease your risk for a CAUTI. These catheters include external catheters for men, and temporary catheters. Temporary catheters are catheters that are inserted to drain urine and then immediately removed. Healthcare providers will use catheters only when necessary and remove them as soon as possible. They may also do any of the following to prevent a CAUTI:

  • Wash their hands before and after they touch your catheter.
  • Secure the catheter to your leg to prevent the catheter from being pulled or kinked.
  • Limit how much the catheter is disconnected to prevent bacteria from getting into the tubing.
  • Keep the bag below your waist to prevent urine from flowing back into the bladder.
  • Empty the bag when it is halfway full or every few hours. This may prevent bacteria from moving into the bladder. Your healthcare providers will be careful not to let the drainage spout touch anything during emptying.
  • Clean the skin around the catheter to decrease the risk of infection.


A CAUTI can spread to other parts of your body or to your blood. This may become life threatening.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.