Asymptomatic bacteriuria, to screen or not to screen – and when to treat?

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Purpose of review

Asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU) is a common clinical condition that often leads to unnecessary treatment. The purpose of this review is to outline and evaluate the most recent literature on the management of ABU.

Recent findings

The role of ABU management has been evaluated in several patient subgroups: healthy patients without identified risk factors, pregnant women, postmenopausal women, women with recurrent UTI, patients with diabetes, elderly institutionalized patients, patients with renal transplants, patients with indwelling catheters and prior to surgery. Available evidence only supports the need for screening and treatment of ABU in pregnant women and prior to urological procedures breaching the mucosa. In all the other conditions the treatment of ABU is not only useless but also harmful. A short course treatment in pregnant women is recommended; in patients with ABU prior to urological procedures breaching the mucosa the treatment should be given in line with antibiogram and in line with the recommendations of European Association of Urology guidelines.


The approach to patients with ABU has changed completely during recent years. Today, screening and treatment of ABU is recommended only in pregnant women and in all patients who are candidates for urological procedures breaching the mucosa.

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