Catheters cause 25% of hospital infections, study says



Catheters, needles and other indwelling devices may cause more harm than good, according to a new report.

Previous studies have found catheters cause roughly 25% of hospital infections, so researchers from the University of Michigan conducted an investigation to further explore why the devices are being misused.

>> Read more trending news 

"Mundane, simple things can have unintended consequences way beyond their scope," coauthor Milisa Manojlovich said in a statement. "People get catheters all the time, but meanwhile they cause lots of harm so we need to talk about them. This study found a whole host of factors that affected the ability to discuss this issue."

For the assessment, the scientists interviewed a small group of nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and physicians about patients with indwelling catheters. They asked questions about communication among their team and issues they face when monitoring catheters.

After analyzing the results, they said all the participants reported lack of communication delayed the removal of unnecessary catheters. They noted poor relationships between nurses and doctors and the misalignment of workflows were all reasons for miscommunication.

The team also said electronic health records can also cause confusion, because nurses and doctors may have different information or there is a lag in updating charts.

The team said they want doctors and patients to better understand how catheters raise the risk of infection as well as non-infection, such as pain and trauma.

“Any foreign object in the body carries an infection risk, and a catheter can serve as a superhighway for bacteria to enter the bloodstream or body,” said Manojlovich.

Want to learn more about the study? Take a look at the findings at American Journal of Critical Care.

About the Author