Urinary tract infections.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are still the precipitating cause for 7 million patient visits per year with total costs exceeding one billion dollars. Diagnostic modalities have become more "friendly" for the smaller laboratory with "dip stick" culture tests providing a rapid method of isolation of pathogens. In many cases, empiric therapy is more cost effective than culture in uncomplicated UTIs in women. The etiologic organisms implicated in UTIs have not changed dramatically over the past two decades, with E. coli still accounting for the majority of cases. Antibiotic susceptibility patterns have changed dramatically, with ampicillin losing utility die to the emergence of resistance. Quinolones, which have been exceedingly active against gram-negative enteric pathogens, are no longer universally active and more pathogenic organisms, such as pseudomonas, may be resistant. The emergence of other highly resistant organisms, such as Enterococcus faecium, must be watched for.
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