Study: Efforts to Reduce Catheter-Induced Infections Coming Up Short


The results of a new study show that despite awareness of the infection risks posed by indwelling urinary and vascular catheters, barriers remain that contribute to reduced effectiveness in decreasing these infections.

For the study, conducted by the University of Michigan and published in the American Journal of Critical Care, researchers interviewed a group of nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and physicians, according to a news release. The interviews addressed problems associated with monitoring and communicating among teams about patients' indwelling catheters. As the release notes, indwelling devices like catheters have been shown to cause about 25% of all hospital infections.

Those interviewed noted that factors such as poor communication between physicians and nurses; workflow misalignment between clinicians; issues with electronic medical records and pagers; and strained relationships between clinicians and hierarchies all helped stifle efforts to decrease catheter use and misuse.

The study results indicate that 60% to 90% of intensive care unit (ICU) patients and 10% to 30% of patients outside the ICU have urinary catheters, many of which are unnecessary or remain in patients for too long.