Impact of a change in surveillance definition on performance assessment of a catheter-associated urinary tract infection prevention program at a tertiary care medical center

In January 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/National Health Safety Network (NHSN) changed the definition of catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). We evaluated the outcomes of a robust CAUTI prevention program when we performed surveillance using the old definition (before 2015) versus the new definition (after 2015). This is the first study to evaluate how the change in CDC/NHSN definitions affected the outcomes of a CAUTI reduction program.

Baseline was from January 2012 to September 2014; the intervention period was from October 2014 to February 2016. Staff nurses were trained to be liaisons of infection prevention (Link Nurses) with clearly defined CAUTI prevention goals and with ongoing monthly activities. CAUTI incidence per 1000 catheter days was compared between the baseline and intervention periods, using the 2 definitions.

With the new definition, CAUTIs decreased by 33%, from 2.69 to 1.81 cases per 1000 catheter days (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 0.67; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.48-0.93; P < .016). With the old definition, CAUTIs increased by 12%, from 3.38 to 3.80 cases per 1000 catheter days (IRR = 1.12; 95% CI: 0.88-1.43; P = .348).

We aggressively targeted CAUTI prevention, but a reduction was observed only with the new definition. Our findings stress the importance of having a reasonably accurate surveillance definition to monitor infection prevention initiatives.

American journal of infection control. 2018 Mar 16 [Epub ahead of print]

Madhuri M Sopirala, Asma Syed, Roman Jandarov, Margaret Lewis

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH. Electronic address: ., University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH., Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH., University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH.