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J Infect Dis. 1987 Jun;155(6):1151-8.

Fever, bacteremia, and death as complications of bacteriuria in women with long-term urethral catheters.


Numbers of nursing home beds now exceed hospital beds in the United States and are usually occupied by women. Urinary incontinence is very common and may be managed with long-term urethral catheters. Bacteriuria invariably results, yet its clinical consequences are not well known. We studied 47 catheterized and bacteriuric women for almost 25 patient-years. The incidence of febrile episodes of possible urinary origin was 1.1 episodes/100 patient-days. Because these were diagnoses of exclusion, even this low incidence may be an overestimate. Most of these episodes were of less than or equal to 38.3 C (101.0 F), lasted for less than one day, and resolved without antibiotic therapy. Six deaths, half the total from all causes, occurred during these episodes, an incidence 60 times that during afebrile periods. Deaths and bacteremias were significantly associated with episodes of greater than or equal to 38.8 C (102.0 F). In the individual patient, these risks should be weighed against benefits of patient comfort, family satisfaction, and prevention and management of decubitus ulcers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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