Urinary tract infections in children: EAU/ESPU guidelines

Eur Urol. 2015 Mar;67(3):546-58. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2014.11.007. Epub 2014 Dec 2.


Context: In 30% of children with urinary tract anomalies, urinary tract infection (UTI) can be the first sign. Failure to identify patients at risk can result in damage to the upper urinary tract.

Objective: To provide recommendations for the diagnosis, treatment, and imaging of children presenting with UTI.

Evidence acquisition: The recommendations were developed after a review of the literature and a search of PubMed and Embase. A consensus decision was adopted when evidence was low.

Evidence synthesis: UTIs are classified according to site, episode, symptoms, and complicating factors. For acute treatment, site and severity are the most important. Urine sampling by suprapubic aspiration or catheterisation has a low contamination rate and confirms UTI. Using a plastic bag to collect urine, a UTI can only be excluded if the dipstick is negative for both leukocyte esterase and nitrite or microscopic analysis is negative for both pyuria and bacteriuria. A clean voided midstream urine sample after cleaning the external genitalia has good diagnostic accuracy in toilet-trained children. In children with febrile UTI, antibiotic treatment should be initiated as soon as possible to eradicate infection, prevent bacteraemia, improve outcome, and reduce the likelihood of renal involvement. Ultrasound of the urinary tract is advised to exclude obstructive uropathy. Depending on sex, age, and clinical presentation, vesicoureteral reflux should be excluded. Antibacterial prophylaxis is beneficial. In toilet-trained children, bladder and bowel dysfunction needs to be excluded.

Conclusions: The level of evidence is high for the diagnosis of UTI and treatment in children but not for imaging to identify patients at risk for upper urinary tract damage.

Patient summary: In these guidelines, we looked at the diagnosis, treatment, and imaging of children with urinary tract infection. There are strong recommendations on diagnosis and treatment; we also advise exclusion of obstructive uropathy within 24h and later vesicoureteral reflux, if indicated.

Keywords: Antibacterial treatment; Children; Diagnosis; EAU; ESPU; Follow-up imaging; Renal scar; Treatment; Ultrasound; Urinary tract infection; Urine sampling; guidelines.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Urological / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pediatrics / standards*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Tract Infections / diagnosis
  • Urinary Tract Infections / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology
  • Urology / standards*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents