Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 364, l525

Antibiotic Management of Urinary Tract Infection in Elderly Patients in Primary Care and Its Association With Bloodstream Infections and All Cause Mortality: Population Based Cohort Study


Antibiotic Management of Urinary Tract Infection in Elderly Patients in Primary Care and Its Association With Bloodstream Infections and All Cause Mortality: Population Based Cohort Study

Myriam Gharbi et al. BMJ.


Objective: To evaluate the association between antibiotic treatment for urinary tract infection (UTI) and severe adverse outcomes in elderly patients in primary care.

Design: Retrospective population based cohort study.

Setting: Clinical Practice Research Datalink (2007-15) primary care records linked to hospital episode statistics and death records in England.

Participants: 157 264 adults aged 65 years or older presenting to a general practitioner with at least one diagnosis of suspected or confirmed lower UTI from November 2007 to May 2015.

Main outcome measures: Bloodstream infection, hospital admission, and all cause mortality within 60 days after the index UTI diagnosis.

Results: Among 312 896 UTI episodes (157 264 unique patients), 7.2% (n=22 534) did not have a record of antibiotics being prescribed and 6.2% (n=19 292) showed a delay in antibiotic prescribing. 1539 episodes of bloodstream infection (0.5%) were recorded within 60 days after the initial UTI. The rate of bloodstream infection was significantly higher among those patients not prescribed an antibiotic (2.9%; n=647) and those recorded as revisiting the general practitioner within seven days of the initial consultation for an antibiotic prescription compared with those given a prescription for an antibiotic at the initial consultation (2.2% v 0.2%; P=0.001). After adjustment for covariates, patients were significantly more likely to experience a bloodstream infection in the deferred antibiotics group (adjusted odds ratio 7.12, 95% confidence interval 6.22 to 8.14) and no antibiotics group (8.08, 7.12 to 9.16) compared with the immediate antibiotics group. The number needed to harm (NNH) for occurrence of bloodstream infection was lower (greater risk) for the no antibiotics group (NNH=37) than for the deferred antibiotics group (NNH=51) compared with the immediate antibiotics group. The rate of hospital admissions was about double among cases with no antibiotics (27.0%) and deferred antibiotics (26.8%) compared with those prescribed immediate antibiotics (14.8%; P=0.001). The risk of all cause mortality was significantly higher with deferred antibiotics and no antibiotics than with immediate antibiotics at any time during the 60 days follow-up (adjusted hazard ratio 1.16, 95% confidence interval 1.06 to 1.27 and 2.18, 2.04 to 2.33, respectively). Men older than 85 years were particularly at risk for both bloodstream infection and 60 day all cause mortality.

Conclusions: In elderly patients with a diagnosis of UTI in primary care, no antibiotics and deferred antibiotics were associated with a significant increase in bloodstream infection and all cause mortality compared with immediate antibiotics. In the context of an increase of Escherichia coli bloodstream infections in England, early initiation of recommended first line antibiotics for UTI in the older population is advocated.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at and declare: grants support from NIHR and Dr Foster Intelligence for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work except for MG who declares working as an epidemiologist at GSK in therapeutic areas not related to the submitted work.


Fig 1
Fig 1
Timeline of study and criteria for differentiating independent episodes of urinary tract infection (UTI)
Fig 2
Fig 2
Flowchart of study cohort. *Observations define all general practitioner (GP) contacts (rows in database) in Clinical Research Datalink database (CPRD). †UTI episode contains all GP contacts that define a single event of UTI for a patient. UTI episode includes 30 day period before diagnosis and 60 day follow-up period after diagnosis. HES=hospital episodes statistics
Fig 3
Fig 3
Kaplan-Meier survival curves by antibiotic management over 60 days

Comment in

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 9 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Linhares I, Raposo T, Rodrigues A, Almeida A. Frequency and antimicrobial resistance patterns of bacteria implicated in community urinary tract infections: a ten-year surveillance study (2000-2009). BMC Infect Dis 2013;13:19. 10.1186/1471-2334-13-19. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Wagenlehner FM, Lichtenstern C, Rolfes C, et al. Diagnosis and management for urosepsis. Int J Urol 2013;20:963-70. - PubMed
    1. Martin GS, Mannino DM, Moss M. The effect of age on the development and outcome of adult sepsis. Crit Care Med 2006;34:15-21. 10.1097/01.CCM.0000194535.82812.BA - DOI - PubMed
    1. Tal S, Guller V, Levi S, et al. Profile and prognosis of febrile elderly patients with bacteremic urinary tract infection. J Infect 2005;50:296-305. 10.1016/j.jinf.2004.04.004. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Cove-Smith A, Almond MK. Management of urinary tract infections in the elderly. Trends in Urology, Gynaecol Sex Health 2007;12:31-4.

Publication types

MeSH terms