Comparative Study
Journal Article
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Are antibiotics necessary for pediatric epididymitis?

OBJECTIVES: To determine the percentage of cases of epididymitis in pediatric patients that is of bacterial cause and to identify factors that predict a positive urine culture.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients diagnosed with acute epididymitis or epididymo-orchitis in 1 pediatric emergency department for 11 years. Charts were reviewed for historical, physical, laboratory, and radiologic data. A positive urine culture was used to identify patients with a bacterial cause of epididymitis.

RESULTS: A total of 160 patient records were initially identified as having a diagnosis of epididymitis; of these, 20 met exclusion criteria or did not have records available for review and 140 cases of epididymitis were reviewed. Patients' age ranged from 2 months to 17 years, with a median age of 11 years. Of these patients, 91% received empiric antibiotic therapy. Also, of these patients, 97 (69%) had a urine culture sent, of whom 4 (4.1%; 95% confidence interval, 1.1%-10.2%) were positive. Of the 4 positive urine cultures, 3 had organisms not sensitive to usual empiric therapy for urinary tract infections. The boys with positive urine cultures were not significantly different from the other patients in age, maximum temperature, or number of white blood cells on urinalysis.

CONCLUSIONS: Given the low incidence of urinary tract infections in boys with epididymitis, in prepubertal patients, antibiotic therapy can be reserved for young infants and those with pyuria or positive urine cultures. Because it is difficult to predict which patients will have a positive urine culture, urine cultures should be sent on all pediatric patients with epididymitis.

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