Catheter-associated urinary tract infections: prevalence of uropathogens and pattern of antimicrobial resistance in a UK hospital (1996–2001)




To assess the change in the bacterial profile and pattern of antibiotic resistance of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs, the most prevalent form of nosocomial infections) between 1996 and 2001.


Catheter samples of urine (CSUs) submitted in 1996, 1998 and 2001 (2451, 2460 and 3349 specimens, respectively) were analysed. The distribution of different uropathogens in bacterial CAUTIs and their in vitro antimicrobial resistance was evaluated over the study interval. The likelihood ratio test was used to assess whether there was a linear trend according to calendar year.


Escherichia coli was the most frequently isolated pathogen in all years, but its frequency declined over time (35.6%, 32.5% and 26.6%, respectively). Enterococcus was the second most frequent overall, with a significant increase in frequency with time (11.8%, 15.3% and 22.0%, respectively). There was also a considerable change in resistance patterns to antibiotics. As a result, in 1996, CAUTIs were least often resistant to ciprofloxacin (8.0%) followed by co-amoxiclav (18.5%) and cephalexin (25.4%). In 2001, CAUTIs were least often resistant to co-amoxiclav (22.5%), followed by ciprofloxacin (27.2%) and nitrofurantoin (28.8%).


The types of organisms associated with CAUTI have changed over the last 5 years in a UK institution, as have the patterns of antibiotic resistance. Currently, the most appropriate agents for the empirical management of CAUTIs seem to be co-amoxiclav, ciprofloxacin and nitrofurantoin.