Pilot Study of Avoidance of Bladder Catheters in Stroke Patients to Avoid Urinary Tract Infections


Phase 2 Results N/A

Trial Description

The purpose of this study is to determine whether bladder catheterization can be safely avoided in patients admitted to the hospital with stroke using a nursing protocol, and whether this decreases the incidence of urinary tract infections. The investigators hypothesize that the protocol will be tolerated by nurses and patients, and that patients without bladder catheters will have fewer urinary tract infections and better outcomes.

Detailed Description

Medical complications, both minor and serious, play a large role in post-stroke management and outcome. Infection, especially pneumonia and urinary tract infections (UTI), is one of the most common medical complications of stroke. In addition, immunosuppression secondary to stroke may increase the risk of infection after stroke, and fever secondary to infection may result in poor outcomes. UTIs occur in 3 to 16% of patients within the first week to month after a cerebrovascular event. Compared with patients who do not develop post-stroke UTIs, those who do have a UTI have poorer outcomes; such patients have an approximately 3-fold increased odds of a higher mRS, and a 4.5-fold higher odds for the combined endpoint of death or disability.
Between 15% and 25% of all hospitalized patients receive short-term indwelling urinary catheters, often unnecessarily. In the general medical population, the risk of UTI ranges from 3%-10% per day of catheterization, and approaches 100% after 30 continuous days. Catheter-associated UTI (CAUTI) is the second most commonly reported healthcare-associated infection in acute care hospitals, accounting for approximately one-third of all infections reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network in 2006-2007, and is the leading cause of secondary nosocomial bloodstream infections. CAUTIs have been estimated to cost $589 to $758 per infection, and between 17 and 69% may be preventable.
The recently released draft guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for prevention of CAUTI suggest appropriate indications for indwelling urethral catheter use, including acute urinary retention or obstruction, need for accurate measurements of urinary output in critically ill patients, and prolonged immobilization, but an estimated 20 to 50% of hospitalized patients have urinary catheters placed without clear indications.
We will conduct a pilot RCT to determine the tolerability and efficacy of a protocol to avoid catheter placement in patients admitted to the UCSF neurovascular service with ischemic stroke or intracerebral hemorrhage. There are two study arms: a usual care control group will have catheter placement on admission, and the intervention group will not have a catheter placed on admission. The intervention arm will be treated using a protocol, developed with a multidisciplinary team, and instituted by nurses to avoid the need for catheter placement. The sample will be followed during hospital admission, with the main outcome measures being the tolerability of the protocol by the nursing staff, patient comfort and the incidence of UTI during hospitalization. The subjects will be followed during their hospitalization and a follow-up telephone call will be made to them at 90-days post-stroke.
We hypothesize that limiting the use of Foley catheters to the medical indications noted in the CDC guidelines, which is not current standard practice, will decrease the number of catheters placed, and thereby reduce the number of UTIs in stroke patients. The ultimate goal of this study is to improve clinical outcomes, decrease hospital length of stay, cost of care, and time to rehabilitation among patients who suffer a stroke.

Trial Stopped: Investigator no longer at institution-no data analyzed



  • Nursing protocol to avoid Foley catheter placement Behavioral
    Intervention Desc: A specific nursing order protocol will be followed addressing urinary care to try to avoid the use of Foley catheters.
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Nursing protocol to avoid Foley Catheter
    Description: No catheter will be placed on admission, and a nursing order protocol will be followed to avoid catheterization and avoid complications.

Trial Design

  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Masking: Open Label
  • Purpose: Prevention
  • Endpoint: Safety/Efficacy Study
  • Intervention: Parallel Assignment


Type Measure Time Frame Safety Issue
Primary Patient comfort. On discharge (average 4 days after stroke) No
Primary Amount of time spent by nurses on patient urinary care Will be measured at the end of each nursing shift during the patients hospitalization. No
Secondary Incidence of Urinary Tract infection during acute hospitalization, average 4 days after stroke No
Secondary Stroke Functional Outcome 90 days No