Objectives To determine the impact of using an algorithm requiring selective rather than routine urinary tract imaging following a first febrile urinary tract infection (UTI) on imaging use, detection of vesicoureteral reflux (VUR), prophylactic antibiotic use, and UTI recurrence within 6 months.
Design Retrospective review comparing outcomes during periods before algorithm use (September 1, 2006, to August 31, 2007) and after algorithm use (September 1, 2008, to August 31, 2009). The new algorithm, which adapted recommendations from the United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence 2007 guidelines, was implemented in 2008. The algorithm calls for renal ultrasonography in most cases and restricts voiding cystourethrography for use in patients with certain risk factors.
Setting County health system.
Participants Children younger than 2 years with a first febrile UTI.
Intervention Selective algorithm for urinary tract imaging.
Main Outcome Measures Urinary tract imaging use, detection of VUR, prophylactic antibiotic use, and UTI recurrence within 6 months.
Results After introduction of the new algorithm, voiding cystourethrography and prophylactic antibiotic use decreased markedly. Rates of UTI recurrence within 6 months and detection of grades 4 and 5 VUR did not change, but detection of grades 1 to 3 VUR decreased substantially. Patients in the prealgorithm group with grades 1 to 3 VUR who would have been missed with selective screening underwent no interventions other than successive urinary tract imaging and prophylactic antibiotic use.
Conclusions By restricting urinary tract imaging after an initial febrile UTI, rates of voiding cystourethrography and prophylactic antibiotic use decreased substantially without increasing the risk of UTI recurrence within 6 months and without an apparent decrease in detection of high-grade VUR. Clinicians can be more judicious in their use of urinary tract imaging.