Changes in reimbursement policies have focused attention on the use of indwelling catheters in the critical care unit as well as their role in hospital-acquired urinary tract infections. Implementation of an evidence-based prevention program can significantly reduce both the prevalence of indwelling catheterization and the incidence of hospital-acquired catheter-associated urinary tract infection. This article describes the epidemiology and pathophysiology of catheter-associated urinary tract infection, and outlines essential elements of an evidence-based prevention program for the critical care unit.

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