Urinary tract infections are the most common bacterial infections encountered in ambulatory and long-term care settings in the United States. Urine samples are the largest single category of specimens received by most microbiology laboratories and many such cultures are collected from patients who have no or questionable urinary symptoms. Unfortunately, antimicrobials are often prescribed inappropriately in such patients. Antimicrobial use, whether appropriate or inappropriate, is associated with the selection for antimicrobial-resistant organisms colonizing or infecting the urinary tract. Infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant organisms are associated with higher rates of treatment failures, prolonged hospitalizations, increased costs and mortality. Antimicrobial stewardship consists of avoidance of antimicrobials when appropriate and, when antimicrobials are indicated, use of strategies to optimize the selection, dosing, route of administration, duration and timing of antimicrobial therapy to maximize clinical cure while limiting the unintended consequences of antimicrobial use, including toxicity and selection of resistant microorganisms. This article reviews successful antimicrobial stewardship strategies in the diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract infections.
Keywords: UTI; antibiotics; antimicrobial resistance; antimicrobial stewardship; appropriate; duration; urinary tract infections.