CAUTIs are extremely common in hospitals. The risk of bacteria developing on an indwelling catheter sits at 5% per day, meaning it takes one month for an infection to be statistically guaranteed. Many are annoying rather than harmful and if not dealt with correctly, they can lead to potentially nasty conditions.
In this post, we explain the common infections catheter users should be aware of.
Bacteraemia is the presence of bacteria in the blood. Secondary bacteraemia is when the source of that bacteria is from a non-direct site like from the urinary tract into the bloodstream. It is often the cause of the most severe urinary tract infection (UTI) complications.
Fortunately, bacteraemia is easily detected and treated. As blood is usually sterile, a blood culture will be able to detect the presence of any bacteria in the bloodstream. Since the bacteria are not part of the biofilm, it is also much easier to treat with antibiotics, which is usually prescribed immediately. This is due to the complications that can arise if bacteraemia is left untreated.
Pyelonephritis is an inflammation of the kidney due to bacterial infection and can be life-threatening. The infection usually begins as a UTI and bacteria like E.coli is often the cause of infection. Bacteria will travel up the urinary tract from the catheter, giving rise to the infection. Symptoms to look out for include, but is not limited to pain while passing urine, a fever greater than 38.9°C (102°F), cloudy urine, shaking or chills and associated vomiting.
Though unpleasant, kidney infections are common and easily treated with a course of antibiotics. In most cases, these are administered orally, although for more severe cases they can be intravenous.
Urosepsis is the term used to describe sepsis caused by a UTI. Though relatively rare, urosepsis is among the most serious of complications. It is caused by the body’s response to infection damaging tissues and organs and can arise when other CAUTIs are left untreated. Symptoms vary but often include fever, low blood pressure and difficulty breathing, with more severe cases commonly associated with multiple organ failure.
Sepsis is life-threatening depending on the severity of the infection. Normal sepsis has a 15-30% mortality rate, with severe septic shock having a mortality rate of up to 80%. However, if caught early, treatment can be as simple as a course of antibiotics completed at home. Note that the treatment must be prescribed within hours of a suspected diagnosis to avoid complications.
The thing to remember with these complications is that they are each a progression of something else. Bacteraemia is a progression of CAUTIs, pyelonephritis a complication of bacteraemia, and so on. Everything starts with a CAUTI, so addressing the problems is simply a case of preventing the CAUTI in the first place.
How can you prevent CAUTIs?
From emptying the drainage bag several times a day to cleaning the skin around the catheter each day, there a many ways you can prevent CAUTIs. The most effective method of preventing CAUTI is to use UroShield.
UroShield uses low-frequency ultrasonic Surface Acoustic Waves (SAW) to vibrate the surface of the catheter. Users won’t hear the sound or feel the vibrations, but the constant movement of the catheter prevents bacteria from attaching to the surface, greatly reducing the risk of developing infections.