Promoting appropriate urine culture management to improve health care outcomes and the accuracy of catheter-associated urinary tract infections

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Abstract

Published literature indicates that the unjustified ordering or improper collection of urine for urinalysis or culture from either catheterized patients or those without indwelling devices, or misinterpretation of positive results, often leads to adverse health care events, including increased financial burdens, overreporting of mandated catheter-associated urinary tract infection events, overtreatment of patients with antimicrobial agents, selection of multidrug-resistant organisms, and Clostridium difficile infection. Moreover, national guidelines that provide evidence-based direction on core processes that form the basis for subsequent clinical therapy decisions or surveillance interpretations; that is, the appropriate ordering and collection of urine for laboratory testing and the treatment of patients with symptomatic urinary tract infection, are not widely known or lack adherence. This article provides published evidence on the influence of inappropriate ordering of urine specimens and subsequent treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria and associated adverse effects; reviews research on bacterial contamination and preservation; and delineates best practices in the collection, handling, and testing of urine specimens for culture or for biochemical analysis in both catheterized and noncatheterized patients. The goal is to provide infection preventionists (IPs) with a cohesive evidence-based framework that will assist them in facilitating the implementation of a urine culture management program that reduces patient harms, enhances the accuracy of catheter-associated urinary tract infection surveillance, improves antibiotic stewardship, and reduces costs.

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