Sole Dependence on Urine Testing Strips and the Ability to Identify Clinically Significant Disease: Challenging the Current Paradigm for Heme Detection in General Clinical Situations

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Abstract

Background: The ability of health care professionals to provide patient care is potentially compromised when predicated on untested, although longstanding, perspectives. One such example is urinalysis testing, which has been currently simplified to use only urine testing strips for detection of microscopic hematuria.

Objective: To determine whether urine testing strips are sufficient for identification of clinically significant findings in urinalysis.

Methods: To determine the presence of microscopic hematuria, I examined a collection of urine specimens that had tested heme negative during the 3-month study period.

Results: Of the 342 patients from whom urine specimens were examined during this interval, 50 had microscopic hematuria, despite having tested negative for heme via urine testing strip. Also, 30% were not receiving any medication known to produce microscopic hematuria, and 18% had clinically significant pathology.

Conclusions: Diagnosis of significant clinical pathologic manifestations would have been compromised had microscopic examination not been performed on the urine specimens from the cohort individuals. Examination of the novel approach of including microscopic examination of specimens in a specific clinical situation challenges the dominant paradigm of reliance on assaying using urine testing strips only, revealing that the current method is not only unreliable for determining microscopic hematuria but also is less than optimal in general clinical practice. The findings of this study provide evidence of the importance of microscopic evaluation as a routine component of urinalysis.

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