PLoS One. 2020 Oct 22;15(10):e0240981. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0240981. eCollection 2020.
For acute medicine physicians, distinguishing between asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU) and clinically relevant urinary tract infections (UTI) is challenging, resulting in overtreatment of ABU and under-recognition of urinary-source bacteraemia without genitourinary symptoms (USB). We conducted a retrospective analysis of ED encounters in a university hospital between October 2013 and September 2018 who met the following inclusion criteria: Suspected UTI with simultaneous collection of paired urinary cultures and blood cultures (PUB) and determination of Procalcitonin (PCT). We sought to develop a simple algorithm based on clinical signs and PCT for the management of suspected UTI. Individual patient presentations were retrospectively evaluated by a clinical "triple F" algorithm (F1 ="fever", F2 ="failure", F3 ="focus") supported by PCT and PUB. We identified 183 ED patients meeting the inclusion criteria. We introduced the term UTI with systemic involvement (SUTI) with three degrees of diagnostic certainty: bacteremic UTI (24.0%; 44/183), probable SUTI (14.2%; 26/183) and possible SUTI (27.9%; 51/183). In bacteremic UTI, half of patients (54.5%; 24/44) presented without genitourinary symptoms. Discordant bacteraemia was diagnosed in 16 patients (24.6% of all bacteremic patients). An alternative focus was identified in 67 patients, five patients presented with S. aureus bacteremia. 62 patients were diagnosed with possible UTI (n = 20) or ABU (n = 42). Using the proposed "triple F" algorithm, dichotomised PCT of < 0.25 pg/ml had a negative predictive value of 88.7% and 96.2% for bacteraemia und accordant bacteraemia respectively. The application of the algorithm to our cohort could have resulted in 33.3% reduction of BCs. Using the diagnostic categories "possible" or "probable" SUTI as a trigger for initiation of antimicrobial treatment would have reduced or streamlined antimicrobial use in 30.6% and 58.5% of cases, respectively. In conclusion, the "3F" algorithm supported by PCT and PUB is a promising diagnostic and antimicrobial stewardship tool.