Common questions about catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI)

A catheter-associated urinary tract infection, or CAUTI, occurs when germs (usually bacteria) enter the urinary tract through a urinary catheter and cause infection. CAUTIs increase the rates of morbidity and mortality, and also affect healthcare costs and lengths of stay in healthcare facilities.

The risk of getting a CAUTI can be reduced by ensuring that catheters are used only when needed and removed as soon as possible. Catheters also must be placed properly, and a closed sterile drainage system needs to be maintained.

How can you treat these sorts of infections? Most CAUTIs can be treated with antibiotics and/or the removal or change of the catheter. A healthcare provider must be consulted to determine the best treatment for each patient.

What can a caregiver do to help their child not develop these infections? Patients with a urinary catheter can take the following precautions to prevent CAUTI:
• Understand why the catheter is needed and ask the healthcare provider frequently if the catheter is still needed.
• If the patient has a long-term catheter, they must clean their hands before and after touching the catheter.
• Check the position of the urine bag; it should always be below the level of the bladder.
• Do not tug or pull on the tubing.
• Do not twist or kink the catheter tubing.

For more information on CAUTI, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.