Bacteriuria in elderly institutionalized men

N Engl J Med. 1983 Dec 8;309(23):1420-5. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198312083092304.


Over a two-year period we obtained monthly urine samples from all noncatheterized male residents on two geriatric wards to determine the occurrence and optimal management of bacteriuria in this population. Among 88 men the prevalence of bacteriuria was 33 per cent, and the incidence was 45 infections per 100 patients per year. Outcomes after single-dose therapy for asymptomatic bacteriuria with 43 courses of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole and 23 of tobramycin included 15 cures, 40 relapses, and 11 treatment failures. Thirty-six residents who had a relapse or in whom single-dose therapy failed were randomly assigned to receive therapy to eradicate bacteriuria or to receive no therapy. All 20 residents who received no therapy remained bacteriuric. The 16 residents who received therapy had fewer months of bacteriuria after randomization, but at the end of the study only one remained free of bacteriuria. Mortality and infectious morbidity after randomization were similar in the two groups. These data suggest that asymptomatic bacteriuria is common in elderly institutionalized men and that therapy is neither necessary nor effective.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bacteriuria / drug therapy
  • Bacteriuria / epidemiology*
  • Bacteriuria / mortality
  • Drug Combinations
  • Homes for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation
  • Sulfamethoxazole / administration & dosage
  • Tobramycin / therapeutic use
  • Trimethoprim / administration & dosage
  • Urine / microbiology


  • Drug Combinations
  • Trimethoprim
  • Sulfamethoxazole
  • Tobramycin