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Am J Epidemiol. 1992 Feb 1;135(3):291-301.

The association between the use of urinary catheters and morbidity and mortality among elderly patients in nursing homes.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210.


To determine whether the use of urinary catheters in elderly patients in nursing homes has an independent effect on morbidity and mortality, the authors conducted a 1-year prospective study among 1,540 patients in a stratified random sample of nursing homes. Patient mortality was assessed at 1 year in relation to the presence or absence of a catheter at entry to the study, acquisition of a catheter, and the proportion of nursing home days spent catheterized during the study year. The independent association of catheter use with mortality was assessed by logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, activities of daily living, mental status, skin condition (decubitus ulcers), and 20 medical diagnoses. The effect of catheterization on hospitalization, use of systemic antimicrobial drugs, and mortality was also examined by matched pairs analysis. At entry, 10.5% of patients had catheters, and they tended to remain catheterized during most of the study year. An additional 10% were catheterized during the year. The following factors were found to have a significant independent association with mortality: urinary catheters, age, mental status or activities of daily living, cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes, and skin condition. There was a stepwise increase in mortality with duration of catheterization. Patients who were catheterized for 76% or more of their days in the nursing home were three times more likely to die within a year. The number of hospitalizations, duration of hospitalization, and use of antimicrobial drugs were all three times greater among catheterized patients.

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