Evaluation of four screening tests for bacteriuria in elderly people

Lancet. 1989 May 20;1(8647):1117-9. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(89)92392-1.


Four screening tests for bacteriuria were assessed at ward level in 418 elderly subjects and were compared with standard methods of bacterial culture. The tests were visual appearance; microscopy; dipstick for nitrite, leucocyte esterase, protein, and blood; and dipstick for nitrite and organisms. The sensitivity of the tests varied from 85.6% to 98.3%, and the specificity from 18.4% to 82.9%. A combination of visual appearance and dipstick testing for nitrite and leucocyte esterase gave a sensitivity of 96.1% with a specificity of 50.6%, and could have reduced by almost one-third the number of urine samples submitted to the laboratory for processing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bacteriuria / diagnosis*
  • Esterases
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / enzymology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrites
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reagent Strips* / classification
  • Urine / microbiology*


  • Nitrites
  • Reagent Strips
  • Esterases