Diagnosis and management of urinary tract infection in hospitalized older people

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009 Jan;57(1):107-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2008.02073.x. Epub 2008 Nov 14.


Objectives: To compare the diagnosis and management of urinary tract infection (UTI) in hospitalized older people with clinical criteria and therapeutic guidelines.

Design: A retrospective case series of emergency hospital admissions collected over an 18-month period.

Setting: An acute general hospital in northwest England.

Participants: Two hundred sixty-five patients aged 75 and older with a diagnosis of UTI at hospital discharge.

Measurements: Data relating to age, sex, presenting complaint, admission and discharge destinations, background comorbidities and medications, investigations performed, treatment given, length of stay, and complications were obtained using chart review.

Results: Of the 265 patients (mean age 85.4) the overdiagnosis of UTI was common, with 43.4% of patients not meeting criteria. Only 32.1% of patients overall had any urinary tract symptoms (48.7% in the UTI group). Of the non-UTI group, 12 (10.4%) had urinary tract symptoms with a negative urine culture, 43 (37.4%) had asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB), and 60 (52.2%) had neither urinary tract symptoms nor bacteriuria. Treatment given varied greatly. The mortality rate was 6.0%, and the average length of stay was 29.9 days (median 17.0, range 1-192). Complications were frequent, including Clostridium difficile diarrhea (8%), falls (4%), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection (3%), and fracture (2%).

Conclusion: More-reliable criteria are needed to aid the diagnosis of UTI in hospitalized older people. Better adherence to clinical management guidelines may improve outcomes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Urinary Tract Infections / diagnosis*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / therapy*