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Use of Urine Testing in Outpatients Treated for Urinary Tract Infection



To characterize urine test use in ambulatory, antibiotic-treated pediatric urinary tract infection (UTI).


We studied children <18 years who had an outpatient UTI and a temporally associated antibiotic prescription from 2002 through 2007 by using a large claims database, Innovus i3. We evaluated urine-testing trends and performed multivariable logistic regression to assess for factors associated with urine culture use.


Of 40 603 treated UTI episodes in 28 678 children, urinalysis was performed in 76%, and urine culture in 57%; 32% of children <2 years had no urinalysis or culture performed for an antibiotic-treated UTI episode. Urine culture use decreased during the study period from 60% to 54% (P < .001). We observed variation in urine culture use with age (<2 years: odds ratio [OR] 1.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.9-1.1; 2-5 years: OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.2-1.4; 6-12 years: OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.2-1.4, compared with 13-17 years); gender (boys: OR 0.8, 95% CI 0.8-0.9); and specialty (pediatrics: OR 2.6, 95% CI 2.5-2.8; emergency medicine, OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1-1.3; urology: OR 0.5, 95% CI 0.4-0.6, compared with family/internal medicine). Recent antibiotic exposure (OR 1.1, 95% CI 1.1-1.2) and empirical broad-spectrum prescription (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1-1.2) were associated with urine culture use, whereas previous UTI and urologic anomalies were not.


Providers often do not obtain urine tests when prescribing antibiotics for outpatient pediatric UTI. Variation in urine culture use was observed based on age, gender, and physician specialty. Additional research is necessary to determine the implications of empirical antibiotic prescription for pediatric UTI without confirmatory urine testing.

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