When to send urine for culture

(In all ages) NICE recommends that urine culture is indicated in the following cases [1]:

  1. Infants and children who are suspected to have acute pyelonephritis/upper urinary tract infection
  2. Infants and children with a high to intermediate risk of serious illness
  3. Infants under 3months
  4. Infants and children with a positive result for leukocyte esterase or nitrite
  5. Infants and children with recurrent UTI
  6. Infants and children with an infection that does not respond to treatment within 24–48hours, if no sample has already been sent
  7. When clinical symptoms and dipstick tests do not correlate.

If urine samples can be sent in a sterile pot, but if they will not be cultured within 4 hours then they should be refrigerated or preserved in boric acid [1]. Ensure you are aware of your local microbiology guidance to reduce the risk of samples being wasted.

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