Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in childhood are considered a risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD), but this association is poorly verified. We wanted to determine the etiologic fraction of UTIs in childhood as a cause of CKD.
A systematic literature search on the association between childhood UTIs and CKD was conducted, and data for patients with CKD in the area of 1 tertiary care hospital were reviewed.
In our literature search, we found no patients among the 1576 reviewed cases for whom childhood UTIs were the main cause of subsequent CKD. However, there were 3 patients with childhood UTIs for whom the results of kidney imaging studies were not reported. Of the 366 patients with CKD who were monitored in the Oulu University Hospital, 308 had a specific noninfectious cause of CKD. Of the remaining 58 patients, 13 had a history of UTIs in childhood. In their first imaging studies, all of those 13 patients demonstrated kidney tissue abnormalities, which could have been observed through ultrasonography. Recurrent UTIs in childhood were possibly the cause of CKD in 1 case; therefore, the etiologic fraction of recurrent childhood UTIs as a main cause of CKD was, at most, 0.3%.
In the absence of structural kidney abnormalities evident in imaging studies after the first childhood UTI, the etiologic fraction of recurrent childhood UTIs as a main cause of CKD seems to be small. A child with normal kidneys is not at significant risk of developing CKD because of UTIs.