Availability of point-of-care culture and microscopy in general practice - does it lead to more appropriate use of antibiotics in patients with suspected urinary tract infection?

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BACKGROUND: Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common condition in general practice, and urine culture can help reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions. In case of delay of the result, antibiotic treatment can be guided by one or more point-of-care (POC) tests. In Denmark, POC microscopy and POC urine culture are widely used for this purpose.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate if availability of POC microscopy or POC culture in general practice was associated with a more appropriate treatment decision in patients with suspected UTI while waiting for the result from the microbiological laboratory.

METHODS: This prospective observational study was conducted in 2016 in general practice in the Copenhagen area, Denmark. Data on all patients presenting in general practice with symptoms of UTI were registered anonymously and a urine sample was sent for culture at the microbiological laboratory. The association between the availability of POC tests and the appropriateness of antibiotic prescribing was assessed with multivariable logistic regression.

RESULTS: Seventy-six general practices included 1545 patients (83% female); 71% received appropriate treatment in practices with POC culture available and 65% in practices without POC culture available (p = 0.042). Having a microscope available was not associated with more appropriate treatment (70% vs. 69%, p = 0.54).

CONCLUSION: Availability of POC culture marginally increased appropriate treatment while waiting for the result from the microbiological laboratory. Practices should adopt a strategy where they either perform culture within the practice or send urine for culture at the microbiological laboratory.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02698332.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe European Journal of General Practice
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)175-181
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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