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Urinary Tract Infection in Children

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 1 ]


Alexander K.C. Leung*, Alex H.C. Wong, Amy A.M. Leung and Kam L. Hon   Pages 2 - 18 ( 17 )


Background: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is a common infection in children. Prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment are very important to reduce the morbidity associated with this condition.

Objective: To provide an update on the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of urinary tract infection in children.

Methods: A PubMed search was completed in clinical queries using the key terms “urinary tract infection”, "pyelonephritis" OR "cystitis". The search strategy included meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials, clinical trials, observational studies, and reviews. The search was restricted to English literature and the pediatric age group. Patents were searched using the key terms “urinary tract infection” "pyelonephritis" OR "cystitis" from,, and

Results: Escherichia coli accounts for 80 to 90% of UTI in children. The symptoms and signs are nonspecific throughout infancy. Unexplained fever is the most common symptom of UTI during the first two years of life. After the second year of life, symptoms and signs of pyelonephritis include fever, chills, rigor, flank pain, and costovertebral angle tenderness. Lower tract symptoms and signs include suprapubic pain, dysuria, urinary frequency, urgency, cloudy urine, malodorous urine, and suprapubic tenderness. A urinalysis and urine culture should be performed when UTI is suspected. In the work-up of children with UTI, physicians must judiciously utilize imaging studies to minimize exposure of children to radiation. While waiting for the culture results, prompt antibiotic therapy is indicated for symptomatic UTI based on clinical findings and positive urinalysis to eradicate the infection and improve clinical outcome. The choice of antibiotics should take into consideration local data on antibiotic resistance patterns. Recent patents related to the management of UTI are discussed.

Conclusion: Currently, a second or third generation cephalosporin and amoxicillin-clavulanate are drugs of choice in the treatment of acute uncomplicated UTI. Parenteral antibiotic therapy is recommended for infants ≤ 2 months and any child who is toxic-looking, hemodynamically unstable, immunocompromised, unable to tolerate oral medication, or not responding to oral medication. A combination of intravenous ampicillin and intravenous/intramuscular gentamycin or a third-generation cephalosporin can be used in those situations. Routine antimicrobial prophylaxis is rarely justified, but continuous antimicrobial prophylaxis should be considered for children with frequent febrile UTI.


Ampicillin, cephalosporin, cystitis, Escherichia coli, gentamycin, pyelonephritis, urinalysis, urine culture.


Department of Pediatrics, The University of Calgary, Alberta Children's Hospital, Calgary, Alberta, Department of Family Medicine, The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Department of Family Medicine, The University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin

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