UTI in patients with a catheter

Last review: 01-03-2013

Catheter-associated (CA) infection refers to infection occurring in a person whose urinary tract is currently catheterized or has been catheterized within the past 48 hours. UTI refers to significant bacteriuria in a patient with symptoms or signs attributable to the urinary tract and no alternate source. Asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) refers to significant bacteriuria in a patient without symptoms or signs attributable to the urinary tract. Bacteriuria is a non-specific term that refers to UTI and ASB combined. In the literature about urinary catheters, CA-bacteriuria is comprised mostly of CA-ASB. The urinary catheter literature is problematic in that many published studies use the term CA-bacteriuria without providing information on what proportion of infections are CA-ASB, and some studies use the term CA-UTI when referring to CA-ASB or CA-bacteriuria (80).


Every patient with an indwelling catheter develops bacteriuria. In general it is not infection but colonization. In that case the patient will not have the complaints of a UTI. Patients (male and female) with an indwelling catheter can best be categorized into three groups:

  1. Catheter in place for £ 10-14 days
  2. Catheter in place for a longer period (mostly months-years)
  3. Catheter over a prolonged period with intermittent catheterization

Authorization date and validity

Last review : 01-03-2013

Last authorization : 01-03-2013

This guideline was developed and approved by representatives of the professional medical societies, mentioned in the introduction and methods sections and therefore represents the current professional standard in 2013. The guideline contains general recommendations. It is possible that, in individual cases, these recommendations do not apply. Applicability of the guideline in clinical practice resorts to the responsibility of every individual practitioner. Facts or circumstances may occur, in which deviation of the guideline is justified, in order to provide optimal quality of care for the patient.

Initiative and authorization

  • Stichting Werkgroep Antibioticabeleid
Authorized by:
  • Nederlands Huisartsen Genootschap
  • Nederlandse Internisten Vereniging
  • Nederlandse Vereniging voor Medische Microbiologie
  • Nederlandse Vereniging voor Obstetrie en Gynaecologie
  • Nederlandse Vereniging voor Urologie

General details

Development of this guideline was supported and financed by the SKMS (Kwaliteitsgelden Medisch Specialisten).

Scope and target group

The objective of these guidelines is to update clinicians with regard to important advances and controversies in the antibiotic treatment of patients with complicated urinary tract infections (UTIs).


The guidelines described here cover the empirical antimicrobial therapy of adult patients (for this guideline 12 years or older) with a complicated UTI admitted to a hospital (emergency room or ward) in the Netherlands. Uncomplicated UTIs are treated predominantly by the general practitioner. For the relevant guidelines, see the recently updated Standard for Urinary Tract Infections of the Dutch Society of General Practitioners (NHG). We have tried to adhere to this standard insofar as possible. Urethritis and epididymitis are not included in this guideline.

The Guidelines give a general therapy advice for all UTI with systemic symptoms because, at first presentation of a patient, it is not always possible to differentiate between an acute prostatitis, pyelonephritis or urosepsis. In addition, this differentiation has no consequences for the choice of empirical antimicrobial therapy. Apart from these general guidelines, we give specific advice for certain groups of patients separately.

Samenstelling werkgroep

Preparation of the guideline text was carried out by a multidisciplinary committee consisting of experts, delegated from the professional societies for infectious diseases (VIZ), medical microbiology (NVMM), hospital pharmacists (NVZA), urology (NVU), gynaecology (NVO), nephrology (NFN) and general practice (NHG). After consultation with the members of these professional societies, the definitive guideline was drawn up by the delegates and approved by the board of SWAB.


  • Dr. S.E. Geerlings (coordinator, SWAB), Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases specialist, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam
  • Dr. C. van Nieuwkoop (VIZ, NIV), Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine and Infectious Diseases specialist, Department of Internal Medicine, Hagaziekenhuis, the Hague
  • E. van Haarst (NVU), Urologist, Department of Urology, St. Lucas Andreas Hospital, Amsterdam
  • Dr. M. van Buren (NFN), Internal Medicine and Nephrology specialist, Department of Internal Medicine, Hagaziekenhuis, the Hague
  • Dr. B.J. Knottnerus (NHG), General Practitioner, Department General Practice, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam
  • Dr. E. E. Stobberingh (NVMM), Medical microbiologist, Lab Medical Microbiology, Maastricht Univerisity Medical Center, Maastricht
  • Prof. dr. C.J. de Groot (NVOG), Gynaecologist, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Vrije Universiteit Medical Center, Amsterdam
  • Prof. dr. J.M. Prins (SWAB), Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases specialist, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam


The Guideline committee would also like to thank Frederique Bemelman (nephrologist) for her comments on the chapter about renal transplantation and Albert Vollaard (infectious disease specialist) for his comments on the subchapter about methenamine.

Declaration of interest

The SWAB employs strict guidelines with regard to potential conflicts of interests as described in the SWAB Format for Guideline Development (www.swab.nl). Members of the preparatory committee reported the following potential conflicts of interest:


SE Geerlings: for the RCTs mentioned in the reference numbers 84 en 168 (Beerepoot et al.): Ref 84: Cranberry capsules and placebo capsules for this trial were delivered by Springfield Nutraceuticals, Oud Beijerland, The Netherlands. Ref 168: Chr Hansen A/S, Denmark has the patents for Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 and donated the placebo capsules for this trial.

E v Haarst: has received speaker fees on a national urological symposium from GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of amoxicillin-clavulanic acid.

Other authors: no potential conflicts of interest declared.

Patient involvement

This guideline does not include patient involvement.

Method of development

Evidence based


This guideline does not include an implementation strategy.

Methods and proces

This guideline was drawn up according to the recommendations for evidence-based development of guidelines (6), (Evidence-Based Richtlijn-Ontwikkeling (EBRO) and Appraisal of Guidelines Research and Evaluation (AGREE), www.agreecollaboration.org). The guidelines are derived from a review of literature based on the 9 key questions concerning the treatment of UTI. Studies were assigned a degree of evidential value according to the handbook of the Dutch Institute for Healthcare Improvement (Centraal Begeleidingsorgaan/Kwaliteitsinstituut voor de gezondheidszorg, CBO) (CBO. Evidence-based Richtlijnontwikkeling, handleiding voor werkgroepleden. Utrecht: CBO; 2007). Conclusions were drawn, completed with the specific level of evidence, according to the grading system adopted by SWAB (Table 1 and 2). The only exception concerns Nethmap, an annual report from which the resistance surveillance data were used. The Guideline committee cannot give Nethmap a level of evidence and decided to use an asterix (*), but is of the opinion that the results can be given substantial weight, since the surveillance data described in Nethmap cover 30% of the Dutch population. Subsequently, specific recommendations were formulated.

In order to develop recommendations for the optimal treatment of UTI, the literature was searched for the key questions. For each question a literature search was performed in the PubMed database (January 1966 to January 2012) as well as in the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL). For resistance surveillance data NethMap 2011 was used, and for the interpretation of susceptibility test results, in addition, reports of the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) were used. When scientific verification could not be found, the guideline text was formulated on the basis of the opinions and experiences of the members of the Guideline committee.

Search strategy

Searches are available upon request. Please contact the Richtlijnendatabase.