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Is screening for urine infection in well infants with prolonged jaundice required? Local review and meta-analysis of existing data
  1. S Steadman1,
  2. I Ahmed2,
  3. K McGarry3,
  4. S V Rasiah4
  1. 1Neonatal Unit, New Cross Hospital, Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, Wolverhampton, UK
  2. 2Neonatal Unit, City Hospitals Sunderland Foundation Trust, Sunderland, UK
  3. 3Department of Pharmacy, Health and Wellbeing, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK
  4. 4Neonatal Unit, Birmingham Women's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to S Steadman, C/O: S Rasiah, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Birmingham Women's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Mindelsohn Way, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TG, UK; sarahlouise.steadman{at}


Background The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) neonatal jaundice guidance recommends a urine culture for investigation of babies with prolonged jaundice. However, the evidence cited for this guidance is limited. We aimed to review local data and the existing literature to identify evidence to either support or refute this guidance.

Method We retrospectively reviewed 3 years of urine cultures from our outpatient prolonged jaundice clinic. We then conducted literature review with meta-analysis of studies presenting original data on urine tract infection (UTI) rates in jaundiced and prolonged jaundiced babies.

Results From our local data, none of the 279 patients met our unit clinical criteria for UTI. Literature review revealed considerable differences worldwide in UTI rates in both jaundiced and prolonged jaundiced cases. Using pooled data from our literature review and our local population, the incidence of UTI in prolonged jaundiced babies is 0.21% (95% CI 0.0% to 0.73%) in the UK. This is significantly lower than the figure indicated from the data from elsewhere in the world, 8.21% (95% CI 4.36% to 13.0%).

Conclusions The findings both from our local data and the current literature do not support the practice of routine screening for urine infection in well babies with prolonged jaundice. In view of the above, we no longer include urine culture in screening of well infants with prolonged jaundice. We hope that NICE will re-examine the evidence and recommend changes to their guidance on the role of routine screening for urine infection in babies with prolonged jaundice.

  • Evidence Based Medicine
  • General Paediatrics
  • Neonatology
  • Screening
  • Jaundice

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