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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 3 (1992), Issue 3, Pages 129-133
Original Article

Urinary Tract Infections in Spinal Cord Injury Patients Undergoing Intermittent Catheterization Procedures

Teresa Kirkland and Geoffrey D Taylor

University of Alberta Hospitals, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Received 25 September 1990; Accepted 30 April 1991

Copyright © 1992 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A prospective study was organized to assess whether feeding back infection rates to staff performing intermittent catheterization in spinal cord-injured patients would produce a fall in urinary tract infection rates. Over a 12 month period, infection rates for such procedures were reported to unit staff: reporting was combined with educational programs emphasizing aseptic catheterization techniques and the importance ofhandwashing. Overall infection rates for the 12 month period were 13.3 per 1000 days of intermittent catheterization - unchanged from the preceding six months (15.1 per 1000 days) by retrospective chart review. Likewise, there was no statistically significant downward trend during the prospective phase of the study. A wide variety of infecting organisms were found, of which Klebsiella species (39%), Escherichia coli (18%) and Enterobacter species (17%) were most common: most infections were asymptomatic. Patients with complete cord lesions at or above the sixth thoracic spinal cord segment (T6) had a much higher incidence of infection (73%) than those with incomplete lesions below T6 (33%).