Background: Asymptomatic bacteriuria is common, and screening for this condition in pregnant women is a well-established, evidence-based standard of current medical practice. Screening other groups of adults has not been shown to improve outcomes.
Purpose: To review new and substantial evidence on screening for asymptomatic bacteriuria, to support the work of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Data sources: English-language studies of adults (age >18 years) indexed in PubMed and the Cochrane Library and published from 1 January 2002 through 30 April 2007.
Study selection: For benefits of screening or treatment for screened populations, systematic reviews; meta-analyses; and randomized, controlled trials were included. For harms of screening, systematic reviews; meta-analyses; randomized, controlled trials; cohort studies; case-control studies; and case series of large multisite databases were included. Two reviewers independently reviewed titles, abstracts, and full articles for inclusion.
Data extraction: Two reviewers extracted data from studies on benefits of screening and treatment (including decreases in the incidence of adverse maternal and fetal outcomes, symptomatic urinary tract infections, hypertension, and renal function decline).
Data synthesis: An updated Cochrane systematic review of 14 randomized, controlled trials of treatment supports screening for asymptomatic bacteriuria in pregnant women. A randomized, controlled trial and a prospective cohort study show that screening nonpregnant women with diabetes for asymptomatic bacteriuria is unlikely to produce benefits. No new evidence on screening men for asymptomatic bacteriuria or on harms of screening was found.
Limitation: The focused search strategy may have missed some smaller studies on the benefits and harms of screening for asymptomatic bacteriuria.
Conclusion: The available evidence continues to support screening for asymptomatic bacteriuria in pregnant women, but not in other groups of adults.