The role of point-of-care tests in antibiotic stewardship for urinary tract infections in a resource-limited setting on the Thailand-Myanmar border.
Chalmers L., Cross J., Chu CS., Phyo AP., Trip M., Ling C., Carrara V., Watthanaworawit W., Keereecharoen L., Hanboonkunupakarn B., Nosten F., McGready R.
OBJECTIVE: Published literature from resource-limited settings is infrequent, although urinary tract infections (UTI) are a common cause of outpatient presentation and antibiotic use. Point-of-care test (POCT) interpretation relates to antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance. We aimed to assess the diagnostic accuracy of POCT and their role in UTI antibiotic stewardship. METHODS: One-year retrospective analysis in three clinics on the Thailand-Myanmar border of non-pregnant adults presenting with urinary symptoms. POCT (urine dipstick and microscopy) were compared to culture with significant growth classified as pure growth of a single organism >10(5) CFU/ml. RESULTS: In 247 patients, 82.6% female, the most common symptoms were dysuria (81.2%), suprapubic pain (67.8%) and urinary frequency (53.7%). After excluding contaminated samples, UTI was diagnosed in 52.4% (97/185); 71.1% (69/97) had a significant growth on culture, and >80% of these were Escherichia coli (20.9% produced extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)). Positive urine dipstick (leucocyte esterase ≥1 and/or nitrate positive) compared against positive microscopy (white blood cell >10/HPF, bacteria ≥1/HPF, epithelial cells <5/HPF) had a higher sensitivity (99% vs. 57%) but a lower specificity (47% vs. 89%), respectively. Combined POCT resulted in the best sensitivity (98%) and specificity (81%). Nearly one in ten patients received an antimicrobial to which the organism was not fully sensitive. CONCLUSION: One rapid, cost-effective POCT was too inaccurate to be used alone by healthcare workers, impeding antibiotic stewardship in a high ESBL setting. Appropriate prescribing is improved with concurrent use and concordant results of urine dipstick and microscopy.