Bacterial urinary tract infections (UTIs) are an important cause of septicemia resulting in high mortality rates, prolonged hospital stays and increased healthcare costs. Periodic reviews of pathogen frequency and susceptibility patterns impact on appropriate antimicrobial usage, leading to more effective prescribing practices. As part of the SENTRY Antimicrobial Surveillance Program (SENTRY, 1998), participants collected 50 consecutive UTI pathogens from patients hospitalized in 31 medical centers (26 in the United States and five in Canada) and forwarded subcultures to the coordinating center. Thirty-four antimicrobial agents were tested including two investigational compounds (quinupristin/dalfopristin [Q/D], gatifloxacin). The rank order of the 32 species identified during the study was: Escherichia coli (46.9%) > Enterococcus spp. (12.8%) > Klebsiella spp. (11.0%) > Pseudomonas aeruginosa (7.5%) > Proteus mirabilis (5.0%) > coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS; 3.4%). This pathogen rank order did not change from 1997 to 1998, but resistance patterns changed. Clonal spread of confirmed extended spectrum beta-lactamase-producing strains was not observed, but co-resistance was elevated for aminoglycosides, tetracyclines, sulfonamides, and fluoroquinolones. P. aeruginosa was most susceptible to amikacin (97.3%) > piperacillin +/- tazobactam (92.0-95.6%) > cefepime = imipenem (91.2%) > ceftazidime (85.8%). Fluoroquinolone resistance was greater in P. aeruginosa (24.8-39.8%) > P. mirabilis (5.3-13.3%) > Enterobacter spp. (6.7-8.9%) > Klebsiella spp. (4.2-7.8%) > E. coli (3.0-3.8%). Only 5% of enterococci were resistant to vancomycin. These results emphasize the need for continued surveillance studies for common infections which establish baseline resistance patterns by geographic areas, and have the potential to detect epidemics or direct local epidemiologic interventions.