Optimal Use of the Laboratory for the Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection

The microbiology laboratory at Pathlab receives on average 400 urine samples per day. This number has been steadily increasing over the past couple of years. In addition, the number of urine samples with no or insufficient clinical details has also increased.

Please note the following with respect to optimal use of the microbiology laboratory for the diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

  • Females with symptoms of cystitis can be treated empirically according to the BPAC UTI guidelines. These patients do not need a urine sample sent to the laboratory.

  • Only those patients with evidence of a complicated UTI require laboratory confirmation of infection. (see Pathlab Testing Guides below)

  • The inclusion of clinical details on the request form is pre-requisite. In particular, the patient’s specific symptoms should be documented, along with why this is a complicated UTI requiring laboratory investigation. Any current or proposed antibiotic therapy & allergies should also be included. This information facilitates optimal processing of the sample and appropriate antimicrobial susceptibility reporting.

Many thanks for your co-operation. Please let us know if you have any questions.