Symptomatic urinary tract infection in preschool Australian children

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Abstract

Objective:

To describe the demographic and clinical features, short-term outcomes, microbiology and renal tract abnormalities of a cohort of young Australian children with symptomatic urinary tract infection.

Methodology:

A total of 304 children <5 years with their first documented symptomatic urinary tract infection who presented consecutively to the Emergency Department of a paediatric hospital between March 1993 and December 1994 and without a known predisposing cause were identified and details of their acute illness were recorded. Renal tract sonography, micturating cystourethrography and Tc-99 m dimercaptosuccinic acid scintigraphy (DMSA) were routinely performed.

Results:

Of those who presented with urinary tract infection, 169 were boys and 135 girls; 64% were less than 1 year of age. For children from the local community, the cumulative incidence of urinary tract infection within the first 5 years of life was estimated to be 1.9% for boys and 1.8% for girls. There were no significant differences in illness characteristics according to mode of referral or geographical locality. Presenting symptoms were generally nonspecific and not referrable to the urinary tract. There were no deaths. One per cent of children required ventilatory support, and bacteraemia occurred in 6%, all of whom were under 6 months of age. E. coli was the causal organism in 84%, and a high in vitro resistance to ampicillin/amoxycillin (54%) was demonstrated by the pathogens isolated. Bacteriuria was eradicated in 99% with antimicrobial treatment. In this setting, the sensitivities of dipstick urinalysis (leucocyte esterase±nitrites) and pyuria on microscopy (> 10 × 106 white cells L−1) were 85%. Abnormal DMSA scintigraphy was detected in 39%, vesicoureteric reflux in 28%, and obstructive uropathy in 1%.

Conclusions:

This study provides current and local data on a large sample of children <5 years with urinary tract infection, which are useful to clinicians who manage children at risk of the condition.

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