JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

A randomized crossover study of silver-coated urinary catheters in hospitalized patients

T B Karchmer, E T Giannetta, C A Muto, B A Strain, B M Farr
Archives of Internal Medicine 2000 November 27, 160 (21): 3294-8
11088092

BACKGROUND: Urinary tract infections (UTIs) account for 30% to 40% of nosocomial infections resulting in morbidity, mortality, and increased length of hospital stay.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of a silver-alloy, hydrogel-coated latex urinary catheter for the prevention of nosocomial catheter-associated UTIs.

METHODS: A 12-month randomized crossover trial compared rates of nosocomial catheter-associated UTI in patients with silver-coated and uncoated catheters. A cost analysis was conducted.

RESULTS: There were 343 infections among 27,878 patients (1.23 infections per 100 patients) during 114,368 patient-days (3.00 infections per 1000 patient-days). The relative risk of infection per 1000 patient-days was 0.79 (95% confidence interval, 0.63-0.99; P =.04) for study wards randomized to silver-coated catheters compared with those randomized to uncoated catheters. Infections occurred in 291 of 11,032 catheters used on study units (2.64 infections per 100 catheters). The relative risk of infection per 100 silver-coated catheters used on study wards compared with uncoated catheters was 0.68 (95% confidence interval, 0.54-0.86; P =.001). Fourteen catheter-associated UTIs (4.1%) were complicated by secondary bloodstream infection. One death appeared related to the secondary infection. Estimated hospital cost savings with the use of the silver-coated catheters ranged from $14,456 to $573,293.

CONCLUSIONS: The risk of infection declined by 21% among study wards randomized to silver-coated catheters and by 32% among patients in whom silver-coated catheters were used on the wards. Use of the more expensive silver-coated catheter appeared to offer cost savings by preventing excess hospital costs from nosocomial UTI associated with catheter use. Arch Intern Med. 2000;160:3294-3298.

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