The Urinary Tract Subcommittee of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Quality Improvement has analyzed alternative strategies for the diagnosis and management of urinary tract infection (UTI) in children. The target population is limited to children between 2 months and 2 years of age who are examined because of fever without an obvious cause. Diagnosis and management of UTI in this group are especially challenging for these three reasons: 1) the manifestation of UTI tends to be nonspecific, and cases may be missed easily; 2) clean voided midstream urine specimens rarely can be obtained, leaving only urine collection methods that are invasive (transurethral catheterization or bladder tap) or result in nonspecific test results (bag urine); and 3) a substantial number of infants with UTI also may have structural or functional abnormalities of the urinary tract that put them at risk for ongoing renal damage, hypertension, and end-stage renal disease (ESRD).


To examine alternative management strategies for UTI in infants, a conceptual model of the steps in diagnosis and management of UTI was developed. The model was expanded into a decision tree. Probabilities for branch points in the decision tree were obtained by review of the literature on childhood UTI. Data were extracted on standardized forms. Cost data were obtained by literature review and from hospital billing data. The data were collated into evidence tables. Analysis of the decision tree was used to produce risk tables and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for alternative strategies.


Based on the results of this analysis and, when necessary, consensus opinion, the Committee developed recommendations for the management of UTI in this population. This document provides the evidence the Subcommittee used in the development of its recommendations.


The Subcommittee agreed that the objective of the practice parameter would be to minimize the risk of chronic renal damage within reasonable economic constraints. Steps involved in achieving these objectives are: 1) identifying UTI; 2) short-term treatment of UTI; and 3) evaluation for urinary tract abnormalities.

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