Urine Culture on Admission Impacts Antibiotic Use and Length of Stay: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2018 May;39(5):547-554. doi: 10.1017/ice.2018.55. Epub 2018 Mar 27.


OBJECTIVETo examine the impact of urine culture testing on day 1 of admission on inpatient antibiotic use and hospital length of stay (LOS).DESIGNWe performed a retrospective cohort study using a national dataset from 2009 to 2014.SETTINGThe study used data from 230 hospitals in the United States.PARTICIPANTSAdmissions for adults 18 years and older were included in this study. Hospitalizations were matched with coarsened exact matching by facility, patient age, gender, Medicare severity-diagnosis related group (MS-DRG), and 3 measures of disease severity.METHODSA multilevel Poisson model and a multilevel linear regression model were used to determine the impact of an admission urine culture on inpatient antibiotic use and LOS.RESULTSMatching produced a cohort of 88,481 patients (n=41,070 with a culture on day 1, n=47,411 without a culture). A urine culture on admission led to an increase in days of inpatient antibiotic use (incidence rate ratio, 1.26; P<.001) and resulted in an additional 36,607 days of inpatient antibiotic treatment. Urine culture on admission resulted in a 2.1% increase in LOS (P=.004). The predicted difference in bed days of care between admissions with and without a urine culture resulted in 6,071 additional bed days of care. The impact of urine culture testing varied by admitting diagnosis.CONCLUSIONSPatients with a urine culture sent on day 1 of hospital admission receive more days of antibiotics and have a longer hospital stay than patients who do not have a urine culture. Targeted interventions may reduce the potential harms associated with low-yield urine cultures on day 1.Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2018;39:547-554.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease / drug therapy*
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urinalysis / statistics & numerical data*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents