Introduced in the 1930s by American urologist Dr Fredrick Foley, urinary catheters have become a mainstay in clinical care. An estimated 30 million urinary catheters are used annually in the United States. Prevalence of catheter use among hospitalized patients ranges from 16% to 33%2,3  and is even higher (67%–76%) in critically ill patients.4,5  But up to one-third of patients may not have an appropriate indication for a catheter to be used.3,6–8  Inappropriate catheter use occurs because of convenience, misunderstanding of necessity, and lack of clear orders for catheter removal or the physician’s lack of awareness of the catheter’s presence.

More than 500000 catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) occur each year in the United States alone. As the single largest source of bacteremia in hospitalized patients, CAUTIs account for 30%...

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