A new study by researchers in the United Kingdom has found significant overdiagnosis of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and unnecessary antibiotic prescribing in a UK emergency department.

The single-center study, led by researchers from University College London, found that more than 90% of patients diagnosed as having a lower UTI in the emergency department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham were prescribed an antibiotic. But retrospective analysis of patient symptoms and urine test results found that slightly more than a third of those patients had clinical or microbiological evidence of a UTI. And many who were admitted to the hospital continued to receive antibiotics.

The authors of the study, which will be presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), which starts tomorrow in Amsterdam, say that although the results are based on cases at only one hospital, they suspect that overdiagnosis of UTIs in other UK emergency departments is common, since similar findings have been reported in other studies.

(CC BY 2.0), flickr, Sarah

Read more at CIDRAP…

See also:

Apr 12 ECCMID abstract

Apr 12 ECCMID poster

Apr 12 ECCMID press release