San Diego, CA, May 5, 2013– Indwelling urinary catheters either placed inappropriately or left in place longer than their intended use have resulted in increased hospitalizations, higher rates of complicated infections and an increased financial burden on both patients and the general health care system, according to a new study being released at the 108th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA). The study will be presented to reporters during a special press conference at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA on Sunday, May 5 at 11:30 a.m. PT.

The indwelling urinary catheter is a standard medical device widely used in both hospital and nursing home settings within the United States. Under certain established medical conditions, these devices serve as a valuable tool in patient care; however if they remain in place after appropriate indications for use end, they can place patients at a higher risk for associated complications such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), bacterial infection, acute renal failure and even sepsis or septicemia.

Research confirms between 2001 and 2010, hospitalizations due to catheter-associated complications increased from 11,742 to 40,429. UTIs were the primary diagnosis for admission, 77 percent in 2001 versus 87 percent in 2010. Health care costs also increased as a result of these hospital stays; from $175 million in 2001 to $1.3 billion in 2010.  And, while resulting length-of-stay and in-hospital deaths declined between 2001 and 2010 (6.4 to 6.2 days and 2.9 percent to 2.2 percent, respectively), rates of septicemia from patients hospitalized for indwelling catheters nearly doubled during the same timeframe.

“Although these devices can be clinically useful, prolonged catheter placement can increase patient discomfort and the risk of developing a UTI,” said Tomas L. Griebling, MD, MPH, Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Urology and Faculty Associate in The Landon Center on Aging at the University of Kansas.“Catheters should only be used for appropriate indications and should be removed as soon as they are no longer needed. This study offers hospitals a powerful incentive to explore new bladder monitoring methods or even urinary catheter alternatives.”

Source: AUA