Podcast #295: UTI

Author: Sam Killian, M.D.

Educational Pearls

  • Traditionally, UTI diagnosis has been dependent on urine culture, urinalysis and clinical symptoms. But a recent study casts some doubt on the utility of urine cultures.
  • A study in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology did urine cultures and E. coli PCR in 220 women with UTI symptoms and 86 women without UTI symptoms.
  • In the symptomatic women, 67% had positive E. Coli PCR and 98% had a pathogenic bacteria in their urine culture.
  • In the asymptomatic women, 10% had positive E. coli PCR and/or urine culture.
  • Therefore, this study suggests that urine culture may be of limited utility, since symptoms alone seemed to predict bacteriuria.

References: Burd EM, Kehl KS. A Critical Appraisal of the Role of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory in the Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infections. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 2011;49(9 Supplement). doi:10.1128/jcm.00788-11.

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