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Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is a catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI)?
A 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.
What causes a CAUTI?
A CAUTI is caused by germs that do not usually live in the urinary tract. The germ can be a fungus or bacteria. Germs may get into the urinary tract when the catheter is being put in or while the catheter stays in the bladder. Being female and having a catheter for more than 48 hours may increase your risk for a CAUTI. Medical conditions, such as diabetes can also increase your risk.
What are the signs and symptoms of a CAUTI?
A CAUTI may not cause symptoms, or you may have any of the following:
- Fever and chills
- Pain in your lower abdomen or back
- Pus from the area where the catheter is inserted, or pus in your urine
- Bad-smelling, cloudy, bloody, or dark urine
- Burning during urination or frequent urination after the catheter is removed
- Sudden, strong need to urinate
- Confusion in older adults
How is a CAUTI diagnosed?
- 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.
How is a CAUTI treated?
- Medicines may be given to treat an infection or decrease pain and fever.
- Catheter removal or change may help get rid of the infection.
How can I manage my symptoms?
- Drink fluids as directed. Fluids may help your kidneys and bladder get rid of the infection.
- Keep the catheter area clean. Clean your skin around the catheter as directed. Shower once a day. Do not take baths or go in hot tubs until your infection is gone.
- Do not have sex until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Sex may delay healing or cause another UTI.
How can I help prevent a CAUTI?
- Wash your hands before and after you use the bathroom or touch the catheter. Wash your hands to prevent the spread of infection to your urinary tract.
- Clean all parts of your catheter as directed. Keep your catheter tubing clean. Do not place the catheter on the ground. Do not allow the drainage spout to touch the toilet. Use an alcohol swab to clean the end of drainage spout as directed.
- Keep the drainage bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from moving back into your bladder, which can cause an infection.
- Empty the urine bag as directed. This may prevent urine from moving back into your bladder.
- Women should wipe front to back after a bowel movement. This may prevent germs from getting into the urinary tract.
- Keep the catheter secured to your leg as directed. Use tape or a special catheter holder to prevent your catheter from being pulled. This may also prevent kinks that could cause the urine to move back into the bladder.
When should I seek immediate care?
- You have severe pain in your lower back or abdomen.
- You have blood in your urine.
- You stop urinating, or you urinate much less than usual.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- You have a fever.
- Your symptoms do not improve or get worse.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
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