To identify risk factors for recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI) and renal scarring in children who have had 1 or 2 febrile or symptomatic UTIs and received no antimicrobial prophylaxis.


This 2-year, multisite prospective cohort study included 305 children aged 2 to 71 months with vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) receiving placebo in the RIVUR (Randomized Intervention for Vesicoureteral Reflux) study and 195 children with no VUR observed in the CUTIE (Careful Urinary Tract Infection Evaluation) study. Primary exposure was presence of VUR; secondary exposures included bladder and bowel dysfunction (BBD), age, and race. Outcomes were recurrent febrile or symptomatic urinary tract infection (F/SUTI) and renal scarring.


Children with VUR had higher 2-year rates of recurrent F/SUTI (Kaplan-Meier estimate 25.4% compared with 17.3% for VUR and no VUR, respectively). Other factors associated with recurrent F/SUTI included presence of BBD at baseline (adjusted hazard ratio: 2.07 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.09–3.93]) and presence of renal scarring on the baseline 99mTc-labeled dimercaptosuccinic acid scan (adjusted hazard ratio: 2.88 [95% CI: 1.22–6.80]). Children with BBD and any degree of VUR had the highest risk of recurrent F/SUTI (56%). At the end of the 2-year follow-up period, 8 (5.6%) children in the no VUR group and 24 (10.2%) in the VUR group had renal scars, but the difference was not statistically significant (adjusted odds ratio: 2.05 [95% CI: 0.86–4.87]).


VUR and BBD are risk factors for recurrent UTI, especially when they appear in combination. Strategies for preventing recurrent UTI include antimicrobial prophylaxis and treatment of BBD.

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