Bacteriuria is the presence of bacteria in the urine and can be classified as symptomatic or asymptomatic. A patient with asymptomatic bacteriuria is further defined as having colonization with one or more organisms in a urine specimen without symptoms or infection. Bacteriuria without symptoms is not an infection.  An example would be a patient with a long-term Foley where there are no symptoms, but significant bacteriuria is usually present. Symptomatic bacteriuria is associated with an infection in the urinary tract, usually by a single organism. Lower urinary tract infections (UTIs) include cystitis and prostatitis, and upper UTIs include pyelonephritis and pyonephrosis. Most UTIs are considered to be simple or uncomplicated because they occur in healthy, non-pregnant women. Complicated UTIs involve individuals with a condition or more resistant pathogen that increases the risk of failing treatment. Examples of conditions that would be classified as a complicated UTI are all urinary infections in men or patients with a urinary tract abnormality or obstruction, an immunocompromising condition, or the presence of a urethral catheter or another device, such as a double-J stent, in the urinary tract.


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Marsha F. Crader, Stephen W. Leslie

Univ. of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Creighton University Medical Center