How UTSW Ensures Patient Safety – Preventing Infections From Urinary Catheters

Some patients require a urinary catheter while they are in the hospital. Because the urinary catheter is a foreign object to the body, infection may occur.

Why Is This Important?

A urinary catheter is a flexible tube inserted into the bladder to assist with urination. A catheter can cause an infection, but some infections are preventable with proper insertion techniques and care by medical staff.

Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI)

A lower number is better with this measure.

What Does This Graph Show?

The graph illustrates the number of infections related to urinary catheters at UTSW hospitals over the past two years.

UT Southwestern Medical Center uses its urinary catheter infection number per 1,000 catheter days to compare its rate of this complication to other hospitals. UT Southwestern's rate is 3.1 infections per 1,000 catheter days, compared to the national average of 1.4 infections per 1,000 catheter days (NHSN).

We believe the number is too high. UT Southwestern has started a quality improvement program to reduce the number of urinary catheter-associated infections by 50 percent over the next year.