Studies indicate that asymptomatic bacteriuria in medical inpatients is often inappropriately treated with antibiotics. We prospectively studied the proportion of asymptomatic bacteriuria among 200 positive urine cultures which were ordered in hospitalised medical inpatients of a teaching hospital in southern India. We used pre-defined criteria to classify patients as urinary tract infection and asymptomatic bacteriuria. Median age of patients was 53.5 (42-65) years, and 51% were male. In all, 157 (78.5%) patients had urinary tract infection (131 [66.5%] definite and 26 [13%] probable) and 43 (21.5%) had asymptomatic bacteriuria. In patients with asymptomatic bacteriuria, 18 (41.8%) received urinary tract infection-directed antibiotics; broad spectrum antibiotics were used in 10 (23%). Patients with asymptomatic bacteriuria were younger, more likely to be on a urinary catheter, had higher prevalence of chronic kidney disease and congestive cardiac failure and had lower prevalence of pyuria and lower total leucocyte counts. Urine cultures should be ordered only in indicated patients. Inappropriate antibiotic treatment in patients with asymptomatic bacteriuria should be avoided.
Keywords: Asymptomatic bacteriuria; medical inpatients; urinary tract infection; urine culture.