CAUTI (Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections) are very nasty infections, leaving patients feeling incredibly unwell.
They’re usually caused by biofilm, which is a build-up of bacteria docking and attaching to the catheter wall which become surrounded in a thick protective coating. This coating makes it very tricky for antibiotics and the immune system to access the bacteria to treat and kill the infection, giving biofilm an increased survival to antibiotics and resistance to the host immune system. Therefore, catheter biofilms are one of the main causes of antibiotic resistance in persistent bacterial infections, with bacteria in biofilms being up to 1000 times more resistant to antibacterials than free bacteria.
Biofilms on the indwelling catheter are not only the main cause of CAUTI, but can also be responsible for the blocking of catheters. Catheter blockages can require more regular catheter changes which can often be painful and uncomfortable, but also more frequent bladder washouts.
Current treatment includes prescribing antibiotics, however this can contribute to antibiotic resistance and in the case of some patients, antibiotics may no longer be effective leaving a huge dilemma in how to treat their CAUTI.