CAUTI Information

What is CAUTI?

CAUTI is an infection of the urinary tract caused by a tube (urinary catheter) that has been placed to drain urine from the bladder. The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, ureters (tubes joining the kidneys to the bladder), bladder, and urethra (tube leading from the bladder to the outside of the body).

Urinary catheters are used to drain urine in patients who are not able to urinate on their own, to measure the amount of urine produced during intensive care, or during and after surgery or tests of the kidneys and bladder. Germs can travel along the urinary catheter and cause an infection in your bladder or your kidney; this type of infection is called a catheter-associated urinary tract infection (or "CAUTI").

The definition of CAUTI falls into two groups:

  • symptomatic urinary tract infection and
  • asymptomatic bacteremic urinary tract infection

CAUTI includes those infections in which a patient had an indwelling urinary catheter at the time or within 48 hours before onset of the event. There is no minimum period of time that the catheter must be in place in order for the UTI to be considered catheter-associated.

CAUTI is the most common type of HAI and causes 1of 3 HAIs in patients in hospitals. Among urinary tract infections acquired in the hospital, approximately 75% area associated with a urinary catheter. There are an estimated 13,000 annual death attributed to CAUTI.

CAUTI can be prevented by things such as hand washing, not using urine drain tubes and if they must be used, inserting them properly and keeping them clean. Catheters should be put in only when necessary, and removed as soon as possible.

Core Prevention Strategies:

  • Insert catheters only for appropriate indications
  • Leave catheters in place only as long as needed
  • Ensure that only properly trained persons insert and maintain catheters
  • Insert catheters using aseptic technique and sterile equipment (acute care setting)
  • Following aseptic insertion, maintain a closed drainage system
  • Maintain unobstructed urine flow
  • Hand hygiene and Standard Precautions


Guidelines for CAUTI prevention: