The challenge of urinary tract infections in renal transplant recipients

Transpl Infect Dis. 2018 Apr;20(2):e12828. doi: 10.1111/tid.12828. Epub 2018 Jan 25.


Urinary tract infections (UTI) are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in renal transplant patients. These infections are quite common, and the goal of care is to identify and reduce risk factors while providing effective prophylaxis and treatment. Better understanding of long-term outcomes from these infections has led to the distinctions among UTI, recurrent UTI, and asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB), and that each requires a different therapeutic approach. Specifically, new research has supported the perspective that asymptomatic bacteriuria should not be treated. Symptomatic UTI, on the other hand, requires intervention and remains an ongoing challenge for infectious disease clinicians. Many bacteria species are responsible for UTI in renal transplant patients, and in recent years there has been a global rise in infection caused by bacteria with newly acquired antibacterial resistance genes. Many renal transplant patients who experience UTI will also have multiple recurring episodes, which likely has a distinct pathophysiological mechanism leading to chronic colonization of the urinary tract. In these cases, long-term management includes bacterial suppression, which aims to reduce rather than eliminate bacteria to levels below the threshold for symptomatic infection. This review will address the current understanding of UTI epidemiology, pathogenesis, and risk factors in the renal transplant community, and also focus on current prevention and treatment strategies for patients who face an environment of increasingly antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Keywords: bactiuria; methenamine; urinary tract infection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Transplant Recipients
  • Urinary Tract Infections / drug therapy
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / pathology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents