Asymptomatic Bacteriuria: Prevalence, Diagnosis, Management, and Current Antimicrobial Stewardship Implementations


      Asymptomatic bacteriuria is a common clinical condition that often leads to unnecessary treatment. It has been shown that incidence of asymptomatic bacteriuria increases with age and are more prominent in women than men. In older women, the incidence of asymptomatic bacteriuria is recorded to be more than 15%. This number increased up to 50% for those who reside in long-term care facilities. In most scenarios, asymptomatic bacteriuria does not lead to urinary tract infections, and therefore, antibiotic treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria has not been shown to improve patient outcomes. In 2019, the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) updated its asymptomatic bacteriuria management guidelines, which emphasized on the risks and benefits of treating the condition. Women who are pregnant should be screened for asymptomatic bacteriuria in the first trimester and treated, if positive. Individuals who are undergoing endoscopic urologic procedures should be screened and treated appropriately for asymptomatic bacteriuria as well. Treating asymptomatic bacteriuria in individuals with diabetes, neutropenia, spinal cord injuries, indwelling urinary catheters, and so on has not been found to improve clinical outcomes. Furthermore, unnecessary treatment is often associated with unwanted consequences including but not limited to increased antimicrobial resistance, Clostridioides difficile infection, and increased health care cost. As a result, multiple antibiotic stewardship programs around the US have implemented protocols to appropriately reduce unnecessary treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria. It is important to appropriately screen and treat asymptomatic bacteriuria only when there is evidence of potential benefit.


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