Does cranberry have a role in catheter-associated urinary tract infections?

Dominique Thomas, Matthew Rutman, Kimberly Cooper, Andrew Abrams, Julia Finkelstein, Bilal Chughtai


Introduction: Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CA-UTIs) are a prevalent and costly condition, with very few therapeutic options. We sought to evaluate the efficacy of an oral cranberry supplement on CA-UTIs over a six-month period.

Methods: Subjects with long-term indwelling catheters and recurrent symptomatic CA-UTIs were enrolled to take a once-daily oral cranberry supplement with 36 mg of the active ingredient proanthocyanidin (PACs). Primary outcome was reducing the number of symptomatic CA-UTIs. This was defined by ≥103 (cfu)/mL of ≥1 bacterial species in a single catheter urine specimen and signs and symptoms compatible with CA-UTI. Secondary outcomes included bacterial counts and resistance patterns to antibiotics.

Results: Thirty-four patients were enrolled in the trial; 22 patients (mean age 77.22 years, 77.27% were men) completed the study. Cranberry was effective in reducing the number of symptomatic CA-UTIs in all patients (n=22). Resistance to antibiotics was reduced by 28%. Furthermore, colony counts were reduced by 58.65%. No subjects had adverse events while taking cranberry.

Conclusions: The cranberry supplement reduced the number of symptomatic CA-UTIs, antibiotic resistances, and major causative organisms in this cohort. Larger, placebo-controlled studies are needed to further define the role of cranberry in CA-UTIs.