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Study Indicates Silver-coated Catheters Reduce Urinary Tract Infections

Using silver-coated catheters for patients significantly reduced the most common hospital-acquired infection, according to a study published in the April issue of Urologic Nursing, the journal of the Society of Urological Nurses and Associates.

Two nurses from a 42-bed rehabilitation hospital in Arkansas compared numbers and rates of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) from data they gathered during two periods. The first was a four-month period in 2006 using a standard latex catheter. The second was a six-month period using a silver coated catheter.

Authors Jackie Kassler, RN, and Josh Barnett, RN, CRRN, of St. Vincent’s RehabilitationHospital in Sherwood, Ark., discovered 10 nosocomial catheter-associated urinary tract infections during the four-month period using the standard latex catheters. During the six-months of silver coated catheter use, the hospital found no nosocomial catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

Kassler and Barnett theorized that silver, a long-known antimicrobial, played a key role in reducing infections. The authors write that while silver has been used in catheters for a decade, products with silver have not yet become standard of care in most healthcare settings. They cite previous in vitro studies in which biofilm is reduced when silver is added to the construction of catheter.

St. Vincent’s embarked upon the study in an effort to reduce CAUTI, the most prevalent hospital-acquired infection in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of St. Vincent’s patients are transferred from acute care settings after neurological or orthopedic surgery or for short-term rehabilitation. Average length of stay is approximately 13 days and 85 percent of patients are discharged back to community settings.

Significantly, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)’s shift to pay for performance later this fall played a role in this analysis. CMS has stated that it will not reimburse hospitals for additional care delivered due to catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

Medline Industries, Inc. provided the silver-coated catheters for the study. According to Jennifer Tomes, director of marketing for urology at Medline, education is one of the key components to using medical devices.

Medline sales and training staff provide a Urological Clinical Troubleshooting Guidebook for medical facilities that covers basics of catheter placement and other tips for reducing complications.

“Increasingly, we are finding that nurses welcome educational support, such as our program on Medline University that focuses on catheter training, as they keep up with changing regulations and new research findings,” Tomes said. MedlineUniversity, provided by Medline, is an online source for continuing education.

“Everyone is looking for ways to reduce their infection rate to zero,” Tomes added. “But you need a marriage of good practice, good education and good products to achieve it.”

Source: Medline Industries, Inc.