Asymptomatic bacteriuria in elderly women - Tips From Other Journals

Date: August, 1991

Asymptomatic urinary tract infection is common in elderly women. Abrutyn and colleagues conducted a longitudinal study to determine the rate of asymptomatic bacteriuria in elderly women.

The study included 865 middle- to upper-class ambulatory women without indwelling catheters. The women were residents of a geriatric center self-contained apartment houses), a nursing home at the geriatric center or several life-care communities in Philadelphia. The mean age of the women was over 80 years. Clean catch urine specimens were obtained and cultured at the beginning of the study and every six months thereafter for three years.

In each screening, about 25 percent of the women in the nursing home, 11 percent in the life-care communities and 18 percent in the self-contained apartments had positive urine cultures. The conversion rate from a negative to a positive culture was 8 percent in the women in the nursing home, 5 percent in the women in the lifecare communities and 11 percent in the women in the self-contained apartments. The conversion rate from a positive to a negative culture was between 31 and 34 percent at each of the three sites. Only 2 percent of participants had asymptomatic bacteriuria with the same organism on all screenings.

The study findings indicate that while asymptomatic bacteriuria is common among elderly women, the turnover rates are high and the rate of persistent infection with the same organism is low. Mobility may be related to the risk of acquiring a urinary tract infection.

The authors conclude that the low rate of persistent infection provides support for the practice of not treating asymptomatic bacteriuria in elderly women. (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, April 1991, vol. 39, p. 388.)

COPYRIGHT 1991 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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