Urine culture

  • Older people often have asymptomatic bacteriuria (no symptoms but bacteria in urine) which does not indicate infection.
  • Do not send catheter specimens of urine (CSU) unless patient has signs and symptoms of infection as CSU samples will almost always have bacteriuria (bacteria in urine).
  • Review urine culture results to check organism is sensitive to antibiotic prescribed and change to an alternative antibiotic if necessary.
  • Interpretation of the urine culture results – high epithelial cell count or heavy mixed growth may indicate contamination. Ensure correct sampling process is followed and take repeat urine sample if clinically indicated.
  • Be alert to UTI due to resistant organisms such as Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamase E. coli. Microbiology will provide advice on treatment options. In patients with a previous ESBL UTI discuss with Microbiology the potential treatment options should the patient become symptomatic again.
  • Do not send urine samples for post-antibiotic checks or clearance of infection.