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An audit of RCP guidelines on DMSA scanning after urinary tract infection

Abstract

AIM To assess the outcome of imaging investigations carried out in children with urinary tract infection (UTI), to compare the investigations with national guidelines, and to assess the impact on management.

METHODS Retrospective review of inpatients and outpatients, aged 0–12 years, referred to the University Hospital of Wales Healthcare Trust between February 1997 and January 1998 with UTI. All children without bacterial evidence of UTI and children previously investigated for antenatal urological anomalies, major congenital anomalies, or UTI were excluded.

RESULTS A total of 164 children (51 boys, 113 girls) were included. Thirteen of 56 infants (23%) and 82/108 older children (76%) were diagnosed at home over one year. The prevalence of dilatation on ultrasound was 8%, renal scarring on dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) scan was 11%, and vesicoureteric reflux (VUR) was 34% when investigations were carried out following guidelines published by the Royal College of Physicians. In children aged 1–6 years, the prevalence of scarring was 1/54 (2%) in those treated at home and 6/18 (33%) in inpatients.

CONCLUSION The low yield of positive results and lack of evidence of impact on management indicate that DMSA scanning, with all the implications of isotope exposure, intravenous injection, staff time, psychological trauma, and expense, could be omitted in children over 1 year with first simple UTI not sufficiently ill to be admitted to hospital. The low rate of detection of UTI in primary care in infants may represent under diagnosis.

  • urinary tract infection
  • inpatients
  • outpatients
  • DMSA scan
  • guidelines
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