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The Chronic Indwelling Catheter and Urinary Infection in Long‐Term–Care Facility Residents

Lindsay E. Nicolle , MD
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Vol. 22, No. 5 (May 2001), pp. 316-321
DOI: 10.1086/501908
Stable URL:
Page Count: 6
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The Chronic Indwelling Catheter and Urinary Infection in Long‐Term–Care Facility Residents
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ABSTRACT From 5% to 10% of residents of long‐term–care facilities have urinary drainage managed with chronic indwelling catheters. These residents are always bacteriuric, usually with a complex microbiological flora of two to five organisms and a biofilm on the catheter that may contribute to obstruction. Residents with chronic indwelling catheters have increased morbidity from urinary infection compared to bacteriuric residents without chronic catheters. The most effective means to prevent infection is limitation of chronic indwelling catheter use. While appropriate catheter care and infection control precautions are recommended in managing these patients, the impact of these practices on the occurrence of urinary infection or prevention of symptomatic episodes has not been evaluated. Symptomatic infection can likely be prevented by attention to catheter care, including early recognition and replacement of obstructed catheters and prevention of catheter trauma. Appropriate use of prophylactic antimicrobial therapy prior to invasive genitourinary procedures is also necessary. Asymptomatic bacteriuria should not be treated. When symptomatic episodes occur, patients should be evaluated clinically and microbiologically and treated with appropriate antimicrobial therapy. Further technological advances in catheter material and urine drainage will be needed to have a substantial impact on the frequency of urinary infection with chronic catheter use.

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